Food Prices Rise, thus my garden grows

Pea Plants Sprouting- Aptil 15, 2011

Gardening is good for the soul. It is meditative, relaxes and helps restore us to balance.

It also feeds my family.  In the summer, we have a minimum of 6 mouths to feed (I am always glad to have friends and family over at meal time, so our table size often grows beyond immediate family).

Ours are no longer little tots who barely count as a mouth. The youngest is 11, the eldest is 19 and almost all of them now out-eat me on a regular basis.

Putting fresh vegetables and fruits on the table in the needed quantities could quickly become daunting- and not just in the summer. We often have the majority of the family here on weekends, holidays and other school breaks during the rest of the year. We always have at least a few of us here.  And now, food prices are on the rise.  It really doesn’t matter if it is energy, weather and unrest; rising fuel prices, or just people playing the futures and gambling some people’s starvation against their profits- it is hitting all of us. Food prices in February had the highest jump in 36 years, and there is no end in sight. It is not just processed foods or finished, packaged goods that are rising- even staples are going up in cost. The continued rises are expected to push more and more people into poverty and into starvation or malnutrition. I was even interviewed by the Christian Science Montior about rising food costs earlier this winter.

What bothers me the most about all of these articles is that they document the rise of costs and the increases in problems, but I do not see any recommendations to people on how to cope. All they do is raise fear and hopelessness.  It is time that we in the US return to our roots, so to speak, and tackle this the old fashioned way- start planting and growing some of your own food.  Give me an excuse why you can not, and I can counter it.  Plants are expensive? Seeds are cheap. And for many plants- like these sprouting tomatoes, the packet holds many more seeds than any one family needs- share with friends and family. A packet of tomato seeds holds on average 30 seeds. If you want 5 plants just to supplement in the summer and fall months, that is 6 families worth of tomato plants for about $2.  When you go to the grocery and tomatoes are 3-5$/lb, the savings seems obvious.  Don’t have time to start seedlings? You buy the seeds and let someone else start them    in exchange for some of the plants.  Have the time and money? Sprout extra plants and give away the extras to someone who has neither.

Container Grown Lettuce Sprouting

Space is always cited as an issues- but there are a myriad of vegetables and herbs you can grown in containers, on balconies and rooftops. And many cities and towns have community gardens that you probably already have access to. Now is the time to claim your spot. This early lettuce will never leave the container, it will provide a first crop of lettuce before the ground is warm enough to sustain.

There are a million reasons to grow food- even if you pick just one thing to grow. Besides taking the pressure off of food demands, you know where the food  has been and what it was exposed to. You will taste flavors and textures you can never get in a grocery store. Given the opportunity to pull dinner from the ground and help prepare it, you will be surprised the foods your kids will eat.  At a minimum, if you are not physically able to grow your own food, stop by your local Farmer’s Market this weekend- almost all of them are now open – a simple google search will turn up local opportunities you might not have known existed.

Early Sprouts of Spinach

It is time to combat the fear of food prices with a few simple tools- some seeds, some dirt, some water and some sun.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s