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View Diary: At least make it easy for hardworking Americans to create FOOD (105 comments)

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  •  I'm in Connecticut (56+ / 0-)

    which is a rocky, swampy, tree filled state outside of the few big cities.  We have a very good Agricultural Dept. which provides detailed maps of our small farms (many are organic).  There is both a good locavore and government effort to keep these small farms viable.  Some restaurants are either all locavore or partially.  

    I've been utterly negligent and you've given me inspiration.  I live in the largest city in my county (har! 35,000) and we don't have a community garden.  We have lots of open space and lots of folks who would benefit and/or contribute to creating and maintaining a garden next year.  So, I will be off to town hall this week to see if it can happen.

    I despise Monsanto, et al. and support Seed Savers because they provide heritage seeds and promote sharing within and among communities.

    Vi er alle norske " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

    by gchaucer2 on Tue Sep 27, 2011 at 09:14:09 PM PDT

    •  Thank you! (15+ / 0-)

      Been harvesting and saving my own seeds for two years now.  I want to control my food supply, not some corporation.

      The most perfect political community is one in which the middle class is in control, and outnumbers both of the other classes. Aristotle

      by ATFILLINOIS on Wed Sep 28, 2011 at 03:17:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  empowering, isn't it? (26+ / 0-)

        Over the last decade I have been gradually adding to my own food production. i started with a 30 x 15 patch of sandy dirt, and year by year added capacity, diversity, and more so that I now have twice that space, a greenhouse, composting that is the envy of the neighborhood, and I produce enough so that we eat our own food well into the winter months (canning and freezing galore).
        Yesterday I noticed zucchini was priced at $2.99 in the grocery store - yeah, I still go there, just not nearly as often.
        The first entirely home grown meal of the season is a major event at our house, as is the last. The rhythms are so much more in tune with natural rhythms, the very nature of the work is so much more rewarding than punching a clock.
        I do dream of being able to truly sustain myself this way, though that is highly unlikely.

        Class war has consequences, and we are living them.

        by kamarvt on Wed Sep 28, 2011 at 06:20:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Am so glad to see this (14+ / 0-)

          Because doing these kinds of things is how we little folks can do important work for ourselves like feed ourselves!

          I did this in the 70's in the back to the land movement and learned all of the skills I hadn't in suburban LA. Now that I have retired from the workforce I get to do this fulltime once more - big garden, hoophouse, and one day (when I can protect them from predators,) chickens. I also buy lamb locally raised. And, when I can't stand the political news, I work out in my garden and feel a whole lot better.

          It used to be standard that everyone would raise some food. We can do that again instead of shopping.  Just sayin.

        •  Store produce is poor quality, often (17+ / 0-)

          Much of the produce I purchase from stores must be thrown away due to poor quality.  Some looks great on the outside, but inside it's rotting away while you wait for the exterior to show signs of ripening--signs that never come until the interior has fully rotted.  Other produce lacks flavor, juice, texture, etc, that one should expect.  And, then, there are the contamination problems with corporate farming that sicken and kill many people at one time.

        •  Just finished canning tomatoes myself. (12+ / 0-)

          I've been gardening for years, some more successfully than others, but there's nothing like veggies straight from the garden.

          •  Please sign my Victory Garden Petition! (4+ / 0-)

            wh.gov/gB7

            I'm trying to get some attention to this topic... I love people like you who grow veggies and can them!! So cool!

            We need more gardens in the US... my petition is an effort to get the attention of Michelle Obama to expand on the Victory Garden concept.

            Thanks!

            Spray tons of carcinogens into the ocean to hide petroleum spewed from a hastily-drilled hole from a greedy corporation, but don't smoke pot. -xxdr zombiexx

            by DontTaseMeBro on Wed Sep 28, 2011 at 08:16:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  kamarvt, you could do it (9+ / 0-)

          if it were really necessary, as could anyone with a garden space.
          Quote from backwoods home forum....

          Last summer our garden was 150' by 50' and we raised more stuff that we and 2 other families could use. We had 7-50' rows of sweet corn, 3- 50' rows of beets, 1-50'- row of carrots, 1-50' row of lettuce, 3-50' rows of onions, 1-50' row of zucchini and summer squash, 1-50' row of cabbage, 4 50' rows of tomatoes, 1-50' row of bell peppers,1-50' row of hot and banana peppers, 5-50' rows of sweet potatoes, 1-50' row of cukes, 2-50' rows of popcorn, 1-50' rows of butternut squash, 8-50' rows of green beans, 8-50' rows of Boone County White corn for cornmeal. with all this we also had watermelons, cantelopes, and more beans planted in the white corn. I canned nearly 800 jars (mostly quarts) of food from the garden.

          Any small patch of land, with 6 hours of full sun per day, can produce mountains of food for pennies.

          Storing and preserving food seems to be the major roadblock for most people.
          The easiest way to preserve is freezing- with a good chest freezer, we can eat for the fall and winter, easily.
          Saving potatoes, cabbage carrots and other root veggies and squash requires a cool/cold cellar, hopefully without rodents and the willingness to check on your supply once a week to make sure all is well.

          •  getting closer, really (7+ / 0-)

            I could grow enough green beans and carrots to have 1500 calories per day all year. Those babies produce!
            My problem is I like to eat a little more adventurously than that. I grow about 15 different types of veggies, with emphasis on things that preserve well (tomatoes, peas, carrots, beans, spinach, etc) since there is only mrs kamarvt and myself to feed - the cats aren't into garden food.
            It was my first year with corn, and I will go big with that next year (already laid out the lawn-suffocating plastic and pallets). The neighbors have chickens, and we are currently deciding between adding to that flock or getting a couple of goats (dairy, dontcha know).
            Living on less than 1/3 acre (I call my operation OCD Gardens at Third Acre Farm) means I won't be raising wheat for breadmaking, and the goats will be rampaging through the gravel pit behind the houses.
            Potatoes are another project I'm looking to get into, but the very sandy soil is an impediment. I've been amending it with compost for a few years now, but I've got a ways to go before my soil coughs up the kind of yields I a shooting for. Hay bales are a great way to cheat lousy soil, but are no good for root crops.
            Thanks for the encouragement!

            Class war has consequences, and we are living them.

            by kamarvt on Wed Sep 28, 2011 at 08:18:38 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Next step = chickens? n/t (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kamarvt, chimpy, Orinoco, JanL

          Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth - Abraham Lincoln

          by Gustogirl on Wed Sep 28, 2011 at 08:08:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Check out this kid's free-range chicken operation (7+ / 0-)

            Linky to great story about high school senior's egg business. He's even going to teach a how-to class.

            "For me it was chickens. I decided to create a business plan and see where it took me. My plan was to produce fresh, free-range eggs for local consumers. I looked for opportunities to sell eggs and found a lot of niches," Davis said.

            His plan succeeded. He started with 30 hens in a small storage shed and expanded to 350 free-range hens that produce 280 eggs a day. Davis supplies all nine Mason County schools with eggs and delivers eggs by the dozens to nearby homes twice a week. The eggs cost $2 a dozen and produce a profit of $1.25 to $1.35 per dozen and are regulated by the West Virginia Department of Agriculture. After he subtracts the cost of feed, Davis makes about $150 a week from his self-sustaining business.

            His father is an industrial maintenance specialist and his mother a secretary. They don't farm. Their son's interest in chickens and hens baffled them, but they supported his efforts and let him build a neat, efficient coop and compost facility on a corner of the two acres surrounding their home.

            "I'm not a humanitarian. I'm a hell-raiser." Mother Jones

            by histopresto on Wed Sep 28, 2011 at 08:16:47 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  the chickens Loooove my compost pile (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DrFood, chimpy, Orinoco, JanL, Gustogirl

            as I mentioned, my neighbor has a coop (that doesn't do much to pen the birds in). They keep me company when I'm working in the garden, and they seem to get along with the dog ok, too.
            I let them rummage through my compost, and as payment they stir up the compost and crap enthusiastically while in there. That works out nicely, since I don't need to buy manure for my composting; the biggest boost my garden has gotten so far. I'm not so thrilled with their digging up my raspberry and blueberry bushes, though. I'll have to fence that stuff next year, if it survives.
            BTW, they're laying hens. The neighbor does raise some meat birds, but those things look like mutants to me.

            Class war has consequences, and we are living them.

            by kamarvt on Wed Sep 28, 2011 at 08:26:38 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Yarh...my garden was a bust this year (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kamarvt, Orinoco, JanL

          a total bust.

          •  Japanese beetles? (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kamarvt, Muskegon Critic, Orinoco, JanL

            They ate up all my edamame and green beans.  Very frustrating.

            Universal Health Care - it's coming, but not soon enough!

            by DrFood on Wed Sep 28, 2011 at 08:30:28 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  them, too. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Muskegon Critic, Orinoco, JanL

              I copped out on those bastards and bought a japanese beetle trap.

              they were omnipresent earlier this year, but I got the trap out early and they pretty much vanished.

              Class war has consequences, and we are living them.

              by kamarvt on Wed Sep 28, 2011 at 08:39:13 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I had a trap (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                JanL, kamarvt

                . . . in the chicken pen (which is highly recommended, btw) and that helped feed the hens, but it didn't make any sort of dent in the destruction.  (To head off possible feedback: the chicken pen is more than 60 feet from the veggie garden.)  We went out with buckets and collected hundreds of beetles at a time, in the morning, when they are sluggish, and fed them to the hens, but it didn't help our apples trees, roses, beans, grape vines and dahlia flowers.  They even ate my sour cherries down to the pits!!  

                Our 1 acre lot has less and less turf every year (I'm on a mission to get rid of turf) but we back up on a small airport (small runway, acres of turf) and to the west we have acres of turf for school playing fields, so the influx from all that turf is immense.  The beetles like to eat leaves, but the worms/grubs like to eat turfgrass roots.

                I bought a bag of Milky Spore Disease containing powder, and put that into the lawn nearest the apple trees and other heavily hit areas.  Perhaps over the years the disease will spread naturally, because I sure as hell can't afford to apply as directed to all these acres of turf.

                Universal Health Care - it's coming, but not soon enough!

                by DrFood on Wed Sep 28, 2011 at 09:49:28 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Mold, poor soil, grasshoppers, a mouse or vole (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Orinoco, JanL, Wood Dragon

              that liked to nibble on the watermelon shoots just enough to sever them from the roots.

              It was a slaughter.

              I have pretty sandy soil and next year I need to enrich it some more.

    •  Maine has MOFGA (7+ / 0-)

      and the locavore movement is strong and growing here.

      The City of Portland claims that it has more restaurants per capita than any other city in the US except SF (I think).  Many of the restaurants that are opening and/or doing well have strongly supported small local farms.  

      We need much more of this.

      I grew up in an asphalt jungle.  My first garden was a disaster because I did not have a clue what I was doing.

      I now have a small plot in a community garden, and enjoy learning from my neighbors, enjoy both the community aspect and the gardening aspect of this.  

      However, I have a very strong pull to grow more, and to move towards greater food independence through growing my own and supporting local farmers that provide the products I know I won't be able to supply for myself (like grass fed poultry and meats, for example).  

      I fall down, I get up, I keep dancing.

      by DamselleFly on Wed Sep 28, 2011 at 06:59:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  We need a return of the Victory Garden! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Orinoco, JanL

      People should be growing at least some basic kitchen garden fare like parsley, lettuce, tomators, peppers...

      Please sign my Victory Garden petition!  wh.gov/gB7

      Spray tons of carcinogens into the ocean to hide petroleum spewed from a hastily-drilled hole from a greedy corporation, but don't smoke pot. -xxdr zombiexx

      by DontTaseMeBro on Wed Sep 28, 2011 at 08:14:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  hooray for seed savers, they may save us all. (0+ / 0-)

      Being ignored is the difference between being a one percenter and an American.--sweeper

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed Sep 28, 2011 at 10:19:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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