Monday, March 23, 2009

Gardening to return to a healthier life

America is facing crisis on several fronts. Our economy is spiraling downward with no bottom in sight. Many people have lost their jobs or are fearful they will. We're all cutting back financially and saving for the bad news we expect is coming.

And if there wasn't already enough stress in our lives, in the last few years there have been numerous outbreaks of illness and sometimes deaths resulting from the unsafe growing and handling of commercial foods. Add to this the likelihood of poison residue on vegetables and in the water and soil. No wonder many of us are left doubting our country's food supply.

The perfect time for the nations First Lady to reintroduce an idea that was popular during other times of crisis in this country. Growing our own vegetables and fruits. Victory Gardens.

In 1943 Eleanor Roosevelt encouraged a return to the “victory gardens” that had become popular during the first world war when the country faced food shortages. Mrs Roosevelt planted a garden at the White House and some 20-million Americans followed her lead, By the end of the war individual gardens grew 40% of the nation’s vegetables. After the war in 1946 people abruptly stopped planting and the commercial growing of vegetables exploded.

Now we have Mrs Obama suggesting we go back to home gardens to save money and to live healthier lives. We have the president of Burpee Seed telling us a $70 investment in seed will reap a $600 reward in produce. I hope this idea is taking root in the minds of a lot of Americans. The message is clear, we can learn to garden, we can eat better and we can eat safer. I also hope the White House gardening staff sets a great example for us all by using safe organic methods of growing food.

I'm not sure what the First Lady and her friends are doing in the photo above. It looks like they are raking thatch but that can't be right. Mrs. O, you need gloves and better boots. You'll have blisters tonight. Do you suppose the fellows in white coats are from the White House Kitchens? Well, whatever they're doing, they look like they're having a good time. I plan to follow Mrs Obama's lead and plant more produce in my garden this year.