Trouble in Paradise

Backyard food production.

Backyard food production.

Just read this on the Huffington Post:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/23/poverty-in-american-suburbs_n_2940688.html?utm_hp_ref=business
It’s so troubling, and so unnecessary. One becomes accustomed to reading about soup kitchens and food pantries in urban settings, yes with all the assumptions that engenders, but even in the city, you find urban farmers and community gardens.
What we’re looking at here, is a lack of skill. If you live in the suburbs, almost by definition, you have land. If you’re an American and you look back a few generations, there’s about a 90% chance you’ll find a farmer. The move from the country to the city and to a good paying job was regarded as moving up. Then when we moved from the city to the suburbs, that too was a move up, and along with that came a shift to little mini-landed estates, not a step “down” to vegetable gardens. I can’t count the number of developments I’ve seen with 5 to 10 acre “farmettes” that lack so much as a tomato plant. We went from “gardening” to “landscaping” and then outsourced the labor. As we left the farm for the city; left lives of manual labor for factory, and then office jobs, the skills our ancestors honed got abandoned by the wayside.
We can take them back, and improve our economic well-being in the process.
Now I know there are those who will point to the macroeconomic forces: tax policy, income inequality, political corruption, and so forth, as the real problem and say that by suggesting people learn to feed their own families out of their back yards, I’m somehow implying that we should all just lie down and revert to being peasants. I’m not.
By all means, read, unite, agitate, make a nuisance of yourself to your elected representatives, and above all, vote. We’re Americans. It’s what we do, or should.
But consider the possibility that not having to put your hat in hand and go to a food pantry to feed your family will make you that much stronger, self-sufficient, and self-confident.
So read the blog. Learn the techniques. Spend a buck on a tomato plant. Go for it. Tell your friends.

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