Food Politics #1…Home Gardens as a Revolution?

My son Gage got me into looking at TED Talks and here’s one I really like.

It has elements that are similar to the post I made on March 8th, titled: ” I LOVE This! The Urban Homestead”.  I have to say, if you haven’t seen that video or have forgotten it, you should check it out. I really do love it…not only for the extremely impressive things the family accomplishes in a city garden, but for the pure aesthetics of it… kitchen gardens CAN be beautiful too!

As for this youtube video on TEDx Talks, it’s given by Roger Doiron, the man who was behind the successful petition to replant a kitchen garden at The White House. (You know, you saw pictures of Michelle Obama out there digging in the dirt).

What I particularly like about this video is how he starts to address some of the food issues and problems that are looming before us. At around the 4 minute mark of his talk, he starts to present some facts that should make ALL of us sit up, pay attention, and recognize that we can’t sit on the sidelines!

He states that currently, we are in the middle of an obesity epidemic, while at the same time:

  • 900 million people on the planet are affected by hunger
  • world food prices are going up
  • world population is going up 
  • by the turn of the century, we are projected to be at 10 billion in population
  • world wide, we are now primarily a suburban population vs a rural population

Then he asks the obvious question: How are we going to feed all of these people? ( And no, I’m sure he’s not OK with Monsanto’s plan of controlling our seed supply, our food supply, and our very right to make choices for ourselves on what we eat. As for me, I think their plan is not only disingenuous, but is a  reflection of our current culture that’s in the stranglehold of corporate greed).

He gives a statistic that “to keep up with the population growth, more food will have to be produced worldwide over the next 50 years than has been grown over the past 10,000 years combined.” Read that again….

And we are going to have to grow it with less:

  • oil
  • water
  • farmland
  • climate stability
  • genetic diversity, which is our insurance policy against climate change and crop diseases...( This is so important. Remember the potato famine in Ireland? The lack of genetic diversity from the low number of varieties of potatoes was one of the contributing factors to the whole crop being vulnerable to disease, causing more than 1 million people to die).
  • time… the average American family takes just 31 minutes per day to prepare, eat and clean up after their meals 

I believe that we all need to educate ourselves on these issues and get involved. Our future and our children’s future depend upon it, and we CAN make a difference! We do it with our pocketbook, we do it with our habits and practices, we do it with our lifestyle choices.

As for politics, I love his idea of adding a “Garden Stimulus Plan along with the other stimulus plans that are currently being talked about. Brilliant! And I love that he talks about the need to take a very serious look at how we subsidize our food.

The fact that it’s cheaper to eat 1 1/2 cups of cereal, ( pick one… how about Cocoa Puffs), for approximately .65 cents as compared to 1 apple for about $1.00 tells us that something’s wrong here. Why is a Big Mac cheaper than a salad, why is a twinkie cheaper than carrots, and why does a bottle of water cost about the same as a coke? That’s just wrong!

And I’m sure we all know it, it’s just that we need to start getting more and more militant about not being led around by our nose anymore. After all, these are our tax dollars…. we are actually paying to support these policies.

Not long after my parents moved to the house where I was born, the U.S. entered WWII and everyone was encouraged to plant a “Victory Garden”. My mom told me that the whole neighborhood planted food in a vacant lot across the street and she harvested huge quantities of fruits and vegetables to freeze. According to this video, at that time in the U.S.,  over 40% of food consumed came from these community gardens.

Supporting the economics of this, according to Mr. Doiron, he and his wife kept careful track of the money they spent on food eaten that came from their own garden vs. the amount of money they spent when they didn’t have a garden of their own, and found that they actually saved over $2000/year on their food bill.

So, am I saying that if all of us started growing some of our own food in our backyards or in community gardens that it would take care of all of our health and food problems that are looming in our future? No, I’m not. It’s not going to be that simple. But I am saying that doing this and reconnecting with our food, #1 can’t hurt, and #2 might just help more than we have any idea.

I can’t imagine anyone saying this isn’t worth giving a try.

Will it:

  • require people to slow down and at least partially get out of the rat race;
  • have the family get out from behind the computer and TV and go outside and work in the garden together;
  • require that we learn how to cook the real food coming out of our gardens and preserve or freeze the rest;
  • cut down on the amount of processed, chemically laden foods we eat;
  • teach kids and adults alike what it really costs to grow real food?

Yeah… I think it might….bummer.

So to wind this up, if Americans could grow 40% of their own produce during WWII, why can’t we look to their example? I think we have to start questioning everything we are told about this issue… we need to find out who is behind the information we receive… who’s driving it… and we need to challenge status quo thinking and start doing research on our own.

So here you go…. this is a great video, and an important topic.  I highly encourage you to take the full 18 1/2 minutes to watch this in its entirety.  Sit down, grab a cup of tea, coffee, whatever… kick back and really listen to this. I hope it prompts some discussion within your own families and also spurs you to spread the ideas and issues brought up in the video.

While you’re at it, click on the below… it’s annoying…. and scarey!

This entry was posted in Food Fight and Health Wars, Into the Garden, Reconnect with Your Food, Self-sufficiency (You Can Do It!), Videos. Bookmark the permalink.

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