Hat tip to Henry for alerting us to Ellen LaConte’s piece on producing your own food. linked below.
This is catching on here in our new little town of around 20,000 souls. Hereabouts it’s a church thing. The Adrian Ecumenical Forum has just begun making donation community gardens, one 500 square footer that will be prominently visible from the main intersection at the center of town. The Presbyterians are doing it. The Lutherans are doing it. The Methodists are doing it. The Disciples are doing it. The Catholics are doing it. The United Church of Christ is leaning forward.
Adrian (our town) is home to the Adrian Dominican Sisters, a fearless order of social gospel women. One of them that is about to return to the motherhouse is Carol Coston, who helped found Sisterfarm, a permaculture complex in Texas. There is talk of a forest garden on the ADS property near their college – Siena Heights University. My new best buddy, Fr. Bob Schramm – who has the biggest bilingual congregation in this region – has caught the bug, calling this move to the soil “providential.” Siena Heights has a student group that will start gardening this Spring, and a recent teach-in on food praxis was attended by about 250 very switched on people.
The prison here even has a garden and a greenhouse, and we are partnering with them to use their greenhouse and promote their prison garden program… which the men who work there value a great deal (it’s a living place among the living dead).
Spring is a time of renewal, and these things feel like renewal. Good news ought to be shared. Now, here is Ellen LeConte’s piece:
Spring has sprung—at least south of the northern tier of states where snow still has a ban on it—and the grass has ‘riz. And so has the price of most foods, which is particularly devastating just now when so many Americans are unemployed, underemployed, retired or retiring, on declining or fixed incomes and are having to choose between paying their mortgages, credit card bills, car payments, and medical and utility bills and eating enough and healthily. Many are eating more fast food, prepared foods, junk food—all of which are also becoming more expensive—or less food.
In some American towns, and not just impoverished backwaters, as many as 30 percent of residents can’t afford to feed themselves and their families sufficiently, let alone nutritiously. Here in the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina where I live it’s 25 percent. Across the country one out of six of the elderly suffers from malnutrition and hunger. And the number of children served one or two of their heartiest, healthiest meals by their schools grows annually as the number of them living at poverty levels tops twenty percent. Thirty-seven million Americans rely on food banks that now routinely sport half-empty shelves and report near-empty bank accounts. And this is a prosperous nation!