Your Year to Grow

by Carol Bridges

I hope that all of you reading this newsletter have had a winter holiday season in which you and your loved ones shared an abundance of delicious foods. We are so fortunate in our community to currently have enough so that we can generously contribute to local food kitchens that serve people with lesser means to attain their daily bread. It is a good time of year to be grateful for what we have.

Right now, 2% of the American population feed the other 98%. So far, so good. However, the U.S. is now the world’s single largest net importer of foods. In the post fossil-fuel economy, we will need something like 50 million farmers, according to Richard Heinberg, quoted in A Nation of Farmers by Sharon Astyk and Aaron Newton. In 1943, 44% of all the vegetables eaten in the U.S. were produced in home Victory Gardens. During World War II, the total quantity of vegetables produced in Victory Gardens was equal to the total output of produce from all U.S. farms combined. When we recognize the need to do something, we can accomplish it.

Should there be a disruption in the transport of food to our grocery stores, a recent study shows that, at best we could only feed the county for three days and most likely only one. No, this is not just Bloomingfoods, this is all of the grocery stores everywhere. Most retailers are re-supplied daily and have little food warehoused. Without sufficient local suppliers...and these we definitely do not yet have...we would be without food. Period.

This does not have to be our future. We are a caring people, intelligent enough to provide for ourselves and others once we recognize a problem. Perhaps you can add one more resolution to your New Year’s intentions. Support your local farmers, food store providers and workers and plant your own garden. Let all those seed catalogs you are receiving now inspire you to take action this year (or consider buying seeds from our own local purveyor, Nature’s Crossroads). The average farmer in the world is a non-white woman, farming about four acres, growing 15 different crops on them. It doesn’t have to be a large operation. It is the everyday things that six-and-a-half billion people do all the time that change the world. Just start growing.