One More Reason To Grow A Few Vegetables


The New York Times has been running an amazing series about a food crisis in the developing world.  The price of commodity foods has been going through the roof, thanks to a number of factors, including the rising cost of fuel, the conversion of food-growing land to biofuel production, and the increasing use of agricultural land for animal feed as the demand for meat rises worldwide. 

Today’s story, "Across Globe, Empty Bellies Bring Rising Anger," by Marc Lacey is just heartbreaking.  Read it. It will ruin your day.

It occurs to me that the metaphorical sin we Americans commit in huge numbers by wasting our yards has just become a literal sin. I’m not saying that any one backyard vegetable garden is going to lower the price of cooking oil in India or feed Haiti–but enough of them might ease the pressure on the world’s agricultural land a little bit. 


  1. That was a chilling article, and one we had best take notice of in our country. We are turning our farmland into cookie cutter subdivisions. How long before we are dependent upon other countries for food like we are for energy?
    I don’t think I’ll be able to get the image of that mother attempting to give her children away out of my mind.

  2. I’ve been feeling a growing angst about the safety and quality of my food supply. The rising prices are prodding me to really take this seriously and grow my own. We’ve got one raised bed in place – it’s time to build some more!

  3. That’s it! Who needs dot-coms when we can make a fortune gardening?

    ( just kidding of course )

    I was just reading that NYT article. Seems we’re an awful lot better than much of the world right now even with food prices climbing daily.

    I wonder if the worst is yet to come or we’ll weather this better than most of the world?

  4. And here we are fighting a war to project our “way of life” and “freedom”. So when the revolution comes can we make all of these mcmansion owning, turf farmers toil in the fields? Five acres can grow a lot of food! This has been aggrevating me for a long time.
    In some respects the suburban ideal has its roots in a sort of Jeffersonian democracy, with everyone having their own piece of land, but unfortunately these people have no clue as to their responsibility to the greater whole of the world community.
    I was recently introduced to yet another one of these subdivisions around our area, 2 million dollar houses, 5 acres of turf, while a local orchard goes under the bulldozer. TV cyborgs all of them.
    Soon we will burn all our food and eat our waste!

  5. I am completely with you, mb. As far as I can see, the suburbs are all about escape from the world’s problems and any responsibility for them.

  6. The SF Chron did a series recently on guerilla gardening and people who squat vacant lots to do food gardening (I actually consider those two different categories of thing). Some of the best agricultural land in the world is languishing under concrete and asphalt here in California. Doing edible landscaping at least puts a bit of it back into production. I hope we all do it before things get a lot worse. The more food there is available on public lands, the less reason people have to start food riots. One of my worries is that if things get a lot worse in this country, my “neighbors” will be coming to take my harvest at gunpoint. It’s that kind of neighborhood.

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