Garden, Plant, Cook!

Monday, October 03, 2011

HELLO!! "The" Reason To Grow Or Choose Locally Grown Food.

Dear Folks,

Maybe it is the confluence of events, but in the last several weeks there have been more alerts and recalls of food that seem to be waving the flag to put attention back on where your food comes from.

Let's just put the subject in practical terms -- the more a piece of furniture, a computer, or a piece of fresh food is handled the more likely it is to be damaged.  This is not rocket science per se, folks, but it is a matter of physics  -- the affects of matter moving through time.

So in case you need ONE more reason to put more of your money and energy into buying locally grown produce and other food, or growing some of it yourself, read the article below.

Long Road From Farm To Fork Worsens Food Outbreaks. 

The Reason To Choose Locally Grown

Desert Gardening and Edibles

So many folks still think you can not grow the veggies, fruits, and herbs in the desert.  In an article in the Sunday paper, Gary Nabhan of Native Seed search makes the point that people lived here for hundreds of years and they ate "something".  Go here for the article.

Mr. Nabhan's point is that the desert can and did produce sustainable food for people.

As we look at our climate, with similarities to Provence and Tuscany, what we have is the ability to garden pretty much year round if certain seasonal facts are kept in mind.

--Drainage in the soil is absolutely mandatory to be successful.  You can garden in a container but the same principle applies.  The soil must be 'fluffy' and well draining and there has to be enough space allowed for the root system to expand.

--Edibles need sun - a minimum of 6-10 hours - year round.  In a residential setting you need to map your garden before hand so you know where the sun comes from and what time of year the area(s) get sun.  If you have places with the appropriate amount of sun year-round then you are ready to plant.

--Plant at the right time of the year for the variety.  If you pay attention to THAT element and the other 2 you will not need to shade most plants in the summer.  Planted at the right time, they adapt.  This might be the single most important point for those moving here from the mid-west or north east.  Learning the different planting times.

--Water properly.  Lawn style watering simply does not work for edibles, they need deep watering, a drying out period between the watering to encourage deep roots and you need to learn what "deep" means.  It means watering sufficiently that you can stick a kababo skewer straight down in the soil after watering with out impediment.

--Variety of Plants.  In many cases you can grow anything you grew in other places in the US.  Choosing Native seeds is an excellent start.  Click here for Native Seed Search an outstanding organization dedicated to the preservation of heirloom and historic foods of the southwest and Mexico.

--- Find Heirloom or naturally hybridized options to garden with.  When searching for a supplier look for the "Safe Seed Pledge" (SSP) somewhere on the sites.  These seed and plants nurserys pledge to not knowingly grow, distribute or sell GMO or GEO plants.  Do some research.  Not all hybrids are GMO - some like the colored cauliflowers (which have higher antioxidant qualities) like "Cheddar" (a deep orange variety) was developed in Canada and is sold by some SSP suppliers.  Some suppliers will only carry heirlooms.  Find your own comfort level on varieties to purchase, just make sure they are wholesome.

More Thoughts On Self-Reliance:

Current events are scary.  I don't like the tenor of what seems to be happening - everyone is angry at someone and since we are all consumers in one way or another, the anger is making its way into the selling and buying of everything.

Can you sew, tune your car engine, fix a flat tire, start a fire, bandage a wound, fix electric wiring, clean a clogged drain, put a roof on your home?  Do you think about taking more direct control over all the necessities and handling of emergencies in your life?

If you have a job how can you decrease your expenses and put something aside?  If you do not have a job, what CAN you do, what skills do you have or can learn quickly, to earn money, legally and ethically?  We are in more than interesting times.  People who have been unemployed for a long time, finally have to look at re-training and giving up on the idea that they are only skilled to do one thing.  It hurts to lose the job, which for most people is also part of their identity, and look for another way to earn a living.  While you have a job is a good time to re-evaluate your skill set and consider self-reliance on some things.  Just because I can some of our food does not mean I do not buy food at the grocer, but it does mean that I have a skill set that gives me flexibility.

Some other thoughts on growing some or most of your own food as a way to have more control over your choices.

When making choices in the reality of our world NOW, it does not matter what your politics are.  The reality is laws which target immigration issues are and will have unintended consequences and those consequences will matter, a lot, to all of us pretty soon.  Some analysts are warning of civil unrest - here in the US - and protests seem to be on the rise.  Pretty soon, according to some of the most dire warnings, you won't be able to hire someone to do anything from cutting your landscaping to purchasing dinner at a grocer for the evening meal.

From farmers who worry about finding "anyone" to help harvest, to service companies like restaurants, landscapers and just about every other industry which has a historic use of low-wage earners, one of two things are going to happen:  Jobs "opened up" by tossing out illegal immigrants are going to have to be filled, possibly forcing some businesses to pay higher wages - presuming they are able to stay in business, OR those jobs are going to other parts of the world or they will go away completely (possibly replaced by some kind of technology which "perforce" the business to create).  In most cases the cost to the consumer is going up in either case.  If food from California is considered expensive, consider what food from other countries - as the main source of your food purchases will be.

Referring back to the beginning of this post - what are the consequences of your purchases of food, sourced far away, to wholesomeness and health of your family.

For your own sake buy local or grow local!  (It will also benefit your community and probably your neighbors too.)

Be safe and be nice to yourselves and others,

-- Catherine, The Herb Lady

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