You may have heard recently that there are supply chain issues in the United States. Should we be scared? Let me start with a quote by Joel Salatan: “The first supermarket supposedly appeared on the American landscape in 1946. That is not very long ago. Until then, where was all the food? Dear folks, the food was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was near kitchens, near tables, near bedsides. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard.” So, what does this quote mean for us? Just think that a mere 70 or 80 years ago, there were no grocery stores. People were living off the land. It means that once up on a time, we couldn’t pop into the store and buy fresh fruits and vegetables. We grew them ourselves and we were able to eat well. We had to get our milk from a local dairy farmer, or we had to go out and milk our own cows. Butter was churned at home, produce was gathered and prepared daily, and excess produce was canned or stored in a root cellar to eat during the winter months when there was no way to grow food.
According to https://allianceforscience.cornell.edu/blog/2018/03/americans-confused-food-unsure-turn-answers/: “The United Nations currently projects that the world’s population will rise from 7.5 billion today to 9.7 billion people by 2050. If food production fails to keep pace with anticipated growth, billions of people will go hungry. The biggest 21st-century agricultural challenge we face will be to produce more grains, fruits and vegetables on less land with fewer resources in the face of climate change.” This means resources are going to become scarcer and we will have to depend more and more on the food we can grow for ourselves. For many, we feel like it’s time for getting back to our roots, quite literally. There have always been people who would grow their own foods and who would choose a small plot of land with a garden and a farm over a fast-paced city life, but it is becoming especially important now that there are economic uncertainties and people are getting scared that the supply chain could be interrupted. It would be scary to lose our fully stocked grocery stores. For those who don’t know how to garden or farm, where would their food come from?
I am not saying that our supply chains will go down or that we should be scared. What I am saying is that it never hurts to be prepared and have at least the knowledge to take care of ourselves in the event of a worst-case scenario. This is where Grow Appalachia programs come into play. Grow Appalachia works with partners on the ground in many areas in the Appalachian Mountains, one of the poorest regions in the United States, to help gardeners grow their own food to keep and to sell. This grant offers a chance to get so many people in a situation of food security. This means if food prices go too high, or if the grocery stores are low on food, our participants will still be able to eat and after they complete the program, hopefully they would have excess food to share with others who are not so fortunate.
Grow Appalachia programs are teaching people how to grow food organically from seeds and transplants. From there, if they learn to save seeds each year, they will also learn true self sufficiency. They can grow a garden each year depending on a national supply chain. We don’t have to eat food that is grown in other parts of the world and shipped to us, tasteless and unripe. We can have fresh tomatoes, onions, peppers, and a whole lot more. The best part is that we can do all of this in our own back yards, which has a plethora of benefits to ourselves, our communities, and our environment. If we know how to grow our own food, especially without hurting the environment in the process, we have achieved something spectacular.
If you are interested in learning more about Grow Sustainab-LEE–our Grow Appalachia program for Lee County, Virginia–or any of our other programs, please visit our website at https://tinyurl.com/LeeMasterGardeners.