Tuesday, March 27, 2012

An Argument For Tomatoes

There was a prediction made by John Hamaker that by the year 1995, the temperate zone would become a subarctic zone, and the world would have lost it's food supply. The year that "Survival of Civilization" was written, the author stated that "the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is man's most urgent problem".

I disagree.

In my opinion, whatever that is worth, feeding people is man's most urgent problem. Feed the hungry, stop the famine and THEN tackle the air. I'm not just referring to the Sudan or the refugee camps in some far off country, but our own countries first. I think that it was quite noble of George Clooney to get himself arrested, it's admirable that he has been fighting for a long time to draw attention to a horrendous problem. He, and Angelina Jolie and all the other celebrities who use their fame for the right ideals are to be applauded. Now we must follow their example, in this one thing at least. But with so many hungry mouths to feed, how do we even begin to start? We start at the bottom, one family at a time. Obviously a Sudanese village will face different challenges than Terra Haute, Indiana, but the solution lies in each of us. The answer to feeding the hungry is multi-layered and yet simple.

We must learn to feed ourselves.

Nourish our neighbors and re-prioritize how we use our green spaces. Those of us who already know a little something about growing food should be allowed to. Scrap ridiculous neighborhood association rules that forbid anything except manicured, chemical-riddled lawn. It makes no sense to sanitize the soil until it cannot support even an earthworm, while there are children going to school hungry. It makes no sense at all to prosecute someone who wants to quietly grow vegetables among their roses and marigolds. while these would be vegetable growers are held captive by obtuse and inane rules, food banks are overwhelmed with need. Children go to bed hungry because they did not get enough to eat at dinner. Some pregnant women live on one meal a day so that their families can have more and even in Canada we have people that choose not to eat so that they can make their groceries stretch further. This is wrong on so many levels.

We must learn to feed ourselves.

We must grow tomatoes among the marigolds and tuck carrots between the pea plants. We must reach out and find people with fruit trees that do not use all their fruit, and encourage them not to waste but to donate it. We must encourage our politicians to pass legislation that encourages people to grow food. Whether that be on a city level, provincial, state or even at the village level. Much like the American government did during WW 2, we need every citizen that is capable to grow food. Not because we are in a world wide conflict, although that day is not far off, but because we are in a war against hunger in our neighbors.. There is a program called Grow A Row in which gardeners are encouraged to grow a row of vegetables to donate to their local food bank. I love the idea of donating fresh vegetables to people who all too often are the recipients of outdated, empty calorie food. I've been there and done that, and I can't properly express what a bundle of bright green broccoli or a bunch of crisp orange carrots can do for someone's morale.

The financially challenged among us are some of the most vulnerable in our communities. Often malnourished, frequently ill and the most powerless, it is for these people we need to grow food. We must not only learn to feed ourselves, but our neighbors as well. For us, for our neighbors, for our country and for the sake of humanity. But that's only one perspective. Tomorrow, another rationale for why we should grow as much as we can.


writer ruth said...

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy


Jacquelineand.... said...

You know I agree wholeheartedly!

One thing that many people here in the U.S. don't realize is that you can get vegetable SEEDS (not plants) with food stamps. Just think how much more, and better, food a family could have if they had the knowledge to make use of that fact? Perhaps that's a good place to begin....those with the knowledge of how to grow food from seed and how to grow in containers, prepare soil, etc... sharing that information with those who need it.

Carolyn said...

I did not know that, J! I shall look into that and add what I learn to my next piece. Thanks for the heads up! (Did you like the Terra Haute ref?)