“When you are drowning in a sewer, you don’t worry that you smell of sewer. You worry that you are drowning.”-The Year of Wonder, by Geraldine Brooks.
A few weeks ago, We went to Halifax, our nearest city 3 hours away, for my husband’s medical appointment. Afterwards we had breakfast at Smittys on Spring Garden Road.
The grassy area across from Public Gardens was filled with tents upon tents of people. When I asked the waitress what was going on, she said “They are people who can’t afford housing or the cost of living anymore. Everyday I come in to work, there’s more.”
As much as I stand by growing your own food, and using sustainable practices to do it, I am not naive.
Not everyone has the luxury of having a space to grow, choosing how their food was grown or the headspace to even worry about it. Let alone listen to some woman on the internet wax poetic about the virtues of homegrown lettuce, grass raised beef and fresh eggs from the chickens. There are parents right here in my community choosing between keeping the lights on and feeding their children.
Since I started this blog in 2017, I have always tried to help people grow their own food. I have skills I was taught by my family, and I have expanded on the foundation with experience, education and fellowship.
In 2020 there was a real surge in backyard gardens to help with supply chain issues and provide mental health during hard times. My inbox was full. Not because I know everything but I can usually help a bit or steer you to someone who knows more.
In 2023, I’m seeing a rise again and when I ask in workshops for people to identify their “why” for growing a backyard garden, the most common answer I get now is “due to grocery store prices”. Or Greedflation as they call it. For the record I don’t believe Galen Weston’s loud protests of denial for one second. I know small farmers aren’t getting more money for that food. Mr. Weston gave himself a several million dollar raise and apparently funded the study by Dalhousie University which defended him in Parliament. His actions speak volumes.
I know not everyone can grow a garden. For those who are able to grow, we should. When people are hungry, communities suffer. Some impacts are direct and some effects are indirect. We know from past experience some demographics suffer more than others. But overall, crime, family violence, and drug and alcohol rates all go up. Perhaps the most important fallout for years after an event like this is when people are hungry, they aren’t able to thrive in this world. Just think of the missed opportunities, innovations and advancements. All because the people who could create them are distracted by hunger.
Grow extra. Feed your family, even if it’s just a small amount or for a season. It can reduce your food costs by 1/4. That’s significant savings when feeding a family of four costs $1088 a month (2022 Nutrition Food Basket). Feed your neighbors. Share with others your bounty. We can all pitch in to do a little more, lift even a small bit of the burden, help take the edge off.
Let us not shrink back in fear but let us grow to become abundant and generous in produce…. and in spirit.
When we aren’t drowning, we need to start throwing life preservers.
(Thank you for staying here with me. Seeing those tents laid something on my heart❤️)
Love Jenn xx