It’s no secret that different activities have calming effects on the body. Gardening, or farming depending on where you’re at and what you’re growing, is one that can be right up there with yoga. There’s just something about having your hands in dirt that is therapeutic. It’s also an activity that I think should be considered as important as budgeting, investing, and starting that 401k.
I live in an area that my grandfather nicknamed “Big Empty” because there is nothing but fields and trees – farms, ranches, farms, ranches, and (you guessed it) more farms. Being in a section of the Wild West and in the apple state, I grew up learning the importance of security through gardening. That is, growing my own food and knowing what to grow for the best nutrition. (Thank you God for having a mom who worked for Rural Resources!)
Food insecurity is a big problem that we’re learning more about every single day either from charities, events (such as Red Nose Day), or by seeing it in the store. It’s a humanitarian problem that comes to light during the summer because many children don’t know where their next meal is coming from because school lunches aren’t available. We hear a lot about it and the stories of how the Recession has made food insecurity worse, yet we aren’t hearing a lot of solutions for how this can be fixed aside from the “throwing money at the problem” method. Funny thing is we’re not that far removed from a generation that had to grow their food or grew their food as a part of history that saw it’s own food crisis.
During WWII, specifically we see huge mentions in USA and the UK, having local sources for food was important because of fuel being needed for war and the dangers of u-boats bombing imports. In Great Britain, growing produce for your family helped make the rations go further. In the United States, having the small backyard garden was something that got started among a few during the Great Depression. Regardless of event, people have grown food during crisis moments either to save money, to have a level of security that if something bad did happen you and your family would still have food on the table, or because you had to.
Gardening is a skill that is slowly getting lost to time along side foraging and farming. It’s a sad thing and I often see members of the greatest generation that was wagging scolding fingers and waving those ominous looking cooking spoons at us. And in all honesty, it isn’t that hard. Planter gardening is my preference since it fits on the deck outside my studio and kitchen. The plants are kept sheltered from animals, forks shoved in to keep the cat out until the plants are bigger, and once things are ripe I just have to pause in cooking to grab what I need. What can be grown in a personal garden also has more flavors since the store holds the variety that is good for shipping, not for flavor or texture.
I haven’t been an adult long, but the importance of knowing how to grow food on any scale gives a level of security and empowerment. Stepping right outside my work studio provides me with produce that saves anywhere from a few dollars here and there, and probably a couple hundred when the season is over. Knowing the lot my generation has, having knowledge on how to save on money is something that doesn’t make me terrified of getting married or having kids. It’s preparation for having a frugal home.
What are some “lost/disappearing” skills that you’d like to see make a comeback?
For more info about Victory Gardens and how to do your own:
(The cover image is Currents in case anyone is wondering.)