Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bountiful Hoods

I know I've mentioned this before, but restating it just shows how important it really is to all of us, whether you are concerned or not. I pulled this story about commercial agriculture in America from www.farmpolicyfacts.org. We all need to take at least a bit of our future in our hands (literally). We may never escape taxes, oil, foreign markets or junk mail, but we can all mitigate our dependence on imported foods and commercial agriculture, with all of its inherent weaknesses.

Imagine a small ficticious community with 10 homes. Each house has a family consisting of two parents and two children. Each home is on a quarter of an acre lot. This community was relatively close and friendly with each other. Apart from their regular professions, they also all had a penchant for home gardening. No one is an expert, but enjoys growing things. Now let's say that they get together and discuss that each family can produce one crop, enough for their along with the other 9 families. Each crop was one that was commonly used, and also commonly imported. Limes, tomatoes, peas, oranges, apples, various nuts, lettuces, potatoes, corn, and bananas for example. Each family grew their crop as a hobby, not by coersion. Imagine the benefits of such a system.
Now, don't go putting words in my mouth like "utopia" or "communist" or anything like that. This would simply be a neighborhood getting together to grow locally what they usually import. These are crops that are relatively easy to grow and wouldn't take up much of a backyard. Mind you, this wouldn't replace their total nutrition, but suppliment it. Now imagine that each family grew two crops! We could add such things like berries, broccoli, eggplant, garlic, avocado, beans, squash, herbs, papaya, and onions. Such advantages (better nutrition, stewardship of the land, education, economics, social building, lessening dependence on outside forces, less pollution, etc.), could be reaped that it seems strange that this isn't a common thing (at least not to me, nor to this era). Maybe this was more common in the "old days" or "tough times." Well I would argue that now is a tough time for many.

I realize that this imaginary neighborhood is highly idealized, but to a lesser degree, it is completely possible and even established in some places. This idea of community and sharing is one of the cornerstones of permaculture.

We may not need to have our food shipped 3400 miles or depend so much on the large farm industry.

Imagine the possibilities...

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