Today I want to briefly touch on why producing your own food is so important. I want to let you know that no matter where you live or how little land you own, it is entirely possible to produce some food for you and your family. While you may not be able to grow everything that you normally eat, you can certainly grow a portion and that makes you that less dependent on the industrial food model.
I want to make sure that you are aware of the 2011 raw milk lawsuit that was decided by Judge Patrick J. Fiedler in Wisconsin. When the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund asked for clarification on his ruling, he stated the following:
- Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to own and use a dairy cow or a diary (sic) cow
- Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to consume the milk from their own cow
- Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to board their cow at the farm of a farmer
- Plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to produce and consume the foods of their choice
Did everyone read the last one? We don’t have a fundamental right to produce and consume the food of our choice? Then what rights do we have? The most insidious part of this whole ruling is that three weeks later, this judge stepped down from the bench to work at Axley Brynelson, LLP. What is Axley Brynelson you ask? It is the law firm that defended Monsanto against an Australian firm for patent infringement. I believe that there are no consequences in life and this certainly doesn’t qualify. When judges in this country say that you don’t have the right to grow and eat the food that you choose, something is seriously off course. So what can you do to escape the industrial food model?
- Grow your own food. I don’t care if you have a single pot on your apartment patio or 100 acres of the most fertile soil. Do something. The reward that you receive from consuming something that you actually produced is worth the effort that you had to put in. You know, 75 years ago, this was the norm. You only went to the grocer for something that you couldn’t produce at your home. Certainly lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers weren’t on that list.
- If you aren’t fortunate enough to have land of your own, or if it’s too shady to sustain a crop of veggies, find somewhere to grow a garden. That’s what my family does. We have nearly an acre but it is all shaded. I have tried growing sun loving veggies here but there is just too much shade. So we partner with friends of ours and have a 2400 ft2 garden that both families can enjoy. Surely you have a friend or family member with a few feet that they aren’t using. Be creative…you are the solution.
- Supplement what you can’t grow with locally sourced food. Visit your farmer’s markets and get to know the vendors. Attend any farm days that they host and check out their operation. Look at the animals and gardens to see what shape they’re in. As a gardener, I certainly don’t expect a weed free, tidy garden but I also hope there aren’t containers of Sevin laying around everywhere either. Check out the animals…do they seem healthy and happy? For some reason in this country, we think that the animals that end up on our plate aren’t supposed to live a healthy, happy life. I completely disagree…everything dies including us and the animals. I would rather know that the cow on my plate lived a life that was full of sunny days and grassy fields instead of being stuffed with GMO grain and forced to stand in manure half way up their legs.
I want to leave you with a bit of gardening inspiration. There is a family in California, the Dervaes, that grow 3 tons of organic food on 1/10 of an acre. Yep, 1/10 of an acre. That is amazing. Imagine what you could do in your own yard. I have to say that the Dervaes family has come under a great deal of scrutiny from the homesteading community for patenting the phrase “urban homestead”. While I agree that it was an assanine decision on their part, it doesn’t take away from what they have been able to accomplish. Check out their website and be inspired! Let me know what you’ve done to take charge of your own food production. Leave me a comment below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy gardening!