Life With Nine Kids

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Home Gardens Under Attack: Support Home Gardens

Today I heard reports of two different households being told they cannot grow food in their front yard, even though no ordinance is referenced against it. 

This comes just one day after I told Charlotte hypothetically, "We'd move if something happened and we couldn't have chickens here, like if our area suddenly had an ordinance against them." I carried on, "I love having birds, and if we couldn't have them we'd put the house up for sale immediately while we worked towards saving more money to move, then within two years we'd be gone. We won't live somewhere where we can't grow and raise our own food; it's un-American"

To live in America and be told you can't grow food on your own property is incomprehensible. Time for me to wake up, because it's the reality some people are living with. We once lived in a country that tried, even advertised, to get people to grow their own food. Being self sufficient was encouraged as was: canning, storing, growing and keeping chickens. Today people and our government are so accustomed to shopping at supermarkets, importing food, paying taxes, regulations and restrictions that people don't do much for themselves anymore in the way of food production. Providing for yourself is a great skill to have, but it's becoming a lost art. Growing your own food not only helps people eat healthier, it's also better for our environment (for one there is no transporting of goods to stores). Growing-your-own teaches many skills and fosters hard work and perseverance which is great for self esteem and motivation. This leads to a feeling of high self worth. People who garden have less stress, tend to be happier and live longer. People who garden get exercise and soak up vitamin D from the sun while they work in their gardens. In 2009, a study reported that three-quarters of U.S. teens and adults were deficient in vitamin D.

When I see people who have gardens visible from the street it makes me happy, I actually look for people's gardens each year. I admire the gardens of complete strangers as we commute to and from home. I show them to my kids. I talk about them. One down this way has a metal pan hanging from a clothesline to deter birds and a lawn chair an older man sits in. I love that he watches his garden grow from his chair. One the other way has a plot so big and rich and full that I'm green with envy every year. At the end of the growing season it's tilled up before we even buy Halloween pumpkins. They keep it in wonderful shape. In the spring, before I can even think about tilling, their garden is tilled up again and waiting for seeds. Yet another garden is near the elementary school; they cover it in black plastic each off season with about eight cinder blocks on sides and corners. I watch for gardens and applaud them as I see them. When I slow down as I pass these gardens my family hears, "Look at that garden! It's a good one!" In fact, I totally just did it today on the way home from swimming.

People getting out in nature and doing what's good for their families and themselves should be encouraged on every level.

Old ad's from the past:
This poster was part of the publicity for a brilliantly mounted campaign to encourage the use of homegrown foods. Because commercially canned goods were rationed, the Victory Garden became an indispensable source of food for the home front. The Victory Garden was a household activity during the war and one of the most well received of all home front chores. At its peak, it is estimated that nearly 20,000,000 gardens were grown and about 40 percent of all vegetables produced in the U.S. came from Victory Gardens. By the end of the war the Department of Agriculture estimated total home front production of over one million tons of vegetables valued at 85 million dollars. Source


Kimberly said...

You know, you would think with the First Lady promoting home and community gardens SO much (she really is, like, a LOT) that it would be spreading positive attitudes, not the reverse! I feel like you do - it's a pleasure to see the earth giving to us that way in someone's yard!

Mom of a bunch of great kids... said...

That is an excellent point I had not thought of!!!