Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Call to Action: Plant One Seed

I'm working my way through Sharon Astyk and Aaron Newtons' new book, 'A Nation of Farmers'. They argue passionately for society to become more interested in growing their own food, in whatever space they have available. The authors are calling for 100 million people to become farmers in the US alone. It seems like a huge number, doesn't it? Yet, this is the number they argue we need in order to stave off the looming food crisis, one unlike anything seen since World War II. If we do not start learning how to grow our own food now, we will not be prepared when we need to be.

It is interesting to think that for hundreds of thousands of years we've known how to provide food for ourselves on a daily basis, and yet in two short generations we've lost that knowledge. Growing something as important as ones own food has come to be considered a menial task, better left for someone else. Technology has finally freed us from this drudgery - why would we want to go back? I think we have been sold a lie. We are nothing more than 'slaves' to the supermarket, to the unsustainable system that provides us our food. How can we criticize that which we are so dependent upon? We are not free at all.

If the world gets to the point where we cannot always buy the food we want, whenever we want - and I believe that day will come to pass - we alone must be responsible for making sure there is enough to eat at the end of the day by putting food by when it is plentiful.

So, here is what I'm asking you to do: go out, fill a pot with dirt and plant one seed this spring. Put it in the sun, water it regularly and watch the miracle unfold. Nothing will taste better than what you harvest from that plant. Nothing is more freeing than taking that first step in providing for oneself. I hope that it will hook you in as it did for me. Maybe we can become that 100 million farmers yet.


Dawn Farias said...

I like this idea. It is July for me and I live in WA, the pacific northwest of the USA. What can I plant now, I wonder?

Shanon Hilton said...

I'm not sure what your first day of frost is, but you could try beets, they usually reach maturity in 50-60 days. Also, you might have luck with some varieties of beans and carrots, heat or drought tolerant lettuce. Radishes mature after about 25 days, but plant those once the weather starts getting a bit cooler. You could also go to your local greenhouse to see what plants they have for you to transplant: tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, broccoli. There's still time!