Cars line up for miles as hundreds inch their way to receive boxes of food to feed their families for a week. At the same time, farmers leave their crops to rot for lack of a sufficient market. There is something definitely wrong here.
We are in a long timeout, driven into our caves by a nasty little microbe. Life as we know it, will be different when we finally poke our noses outside. After weathering this crisis, we will step into an altered landscape, a “new normal,” as they say.
I saw two newsbytes about farmers destroying their crops because their restaurant and bar customers are also in time out. If they are doing that now, will the produce section of my grocery store be bare later this summer? I heard a few hints here and there. If toilet paper can disappear for weeks, for Pete’s sake, what about something as fragile as lettuce or tomatoes? It’s no secret that we farm more acreage of corn in America to feed cattle for the meat industry than we do to feed people fruit and vegetables.
Before the industrial revolution, the most common occupation was farming, and most people grew their own vegetables if they owned land. I remember my grandparents huge garden, a holdover from World War II victory gardens.
Perhaps we should consider growing vegetables this year instead of flowers or rolling green lawns. No one knows less about doing that than I, but a few years ago I decided to grow tomato plants in pots on my back deck. I bought a dozen baby tomato plants from a nursery and put them all in one big pot. When I told my farmer son what I had done, he laughed and said, “Mother, you really can’t drink like that.” What?? Apparently, each plant needs lots of space — like one plant per large pot. That’s when I gifted my friends tomato plants. I kept a few, and they turned out delicious. The following year, I grew tomatoes, parsley, and basil.
One year I joined in Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). People buy “shares” in a farm. Their share covers the farmers expenses and profit margin, and in return, they are guaranteed a huge bag of veggies every week. They are fresh, locally grown, and organic or not, depending on the farm one chooses. If being surprised to discover what veggies you will be eating every week is not your cup of tea, there are always farm markets and independent stands.
I like this video about the pros and cons of joining a CSA. Who knows? Maybe this is the year to try it. At least you will have “veggie security.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bL-YBoZiFE