By Linda Grinthal
Food that is trucked and flown thousands of miles to get to us is becoming much more expensive, as it gets less fresh and looses nutritious value. Taste has been compromised for convenience and shelf life. Our remote supply may even eventually dwindle. It’s time for local action. Grow a survival garden, writes Linda Grinthal.
In the 1940s, transportation shortages due to the war made it hard to move fruits and vegetables to market. So the government asked the American people to plant their own gardens. Can you imagine?
“I’m one person.” “We’re just one family.” “This is one small business.” “We’re just one school.” Thank God our parents and grandparents didn’t say that when the U.S. Government called on citizens to make a difference during World War II.
Twenty million gardens were planted. Victory Gardens, they were called. They appeared in backyards, front yards, empty lots and rooftops. Neighborhoods formed cooperatives and pooled their energy and resources. Families were encouraged to preserve their harvests, and 315,000 pressure cookers for canning were sold in 1943, about 250,000 more than the previous year. Neighbors traded cucumbers for melons and exchanged canned pumpkin for canned tomato. There was a shared sense in the neighborhoods that “whatever happens, we’re in this together”. And a certain quality came to family life: time spent productively together, toward a common goal.
Today it seems we’re in a war against old habits. Our excesses may be catching up with us. There’s a blight spreading through the money tree in America. Is it dead or just dormant? Will it bloom this year or skip a year, or even more? We keep hearing that the housing bubble has burst and we’re in a stock market correction. Maybe it is time for an agricultural correction.
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