Adversity is a sign a new approach is necessary
How many times in your life have you faced adversity and found that by perceiving the situation differently solutions emerge that changes everything? When we choose to be fearful the situation remains fearsome; when we view adversity as a sign that a new approach is needed, fearsome can turn into opportunity.
Countries that were affected by the two World Wars experienced food shortages when men were sent to war and transportation lines were disrupted. Panic buying and hoarding began and food rationing became necessary, but anyone who had money could get what they wanted on the black market. A disastrous situation was averted through an innovative campaign promoting Victory Gardens or War Gardens that resulted in non-farmers supplying 40 percent of the United States’ food needs in backyards, vacant lots and parks. The movement spread to other countries with similar results.
Today, many people feel the impact of recession and the attendant distress caused by loss of jobs, inability to pay bills and high food costs. The present conditions may not seem as urgent as during the World Wars but for some people it feels like war. There are other factors than the recession contributing to high food costs that are likely to continue: burgeoning global populations, crop failures due to weather disturbances, fluctuating oil prices, shifting markets, etc.
What if you decided to take responsibility for 40 percent of your food needs instead of depending entirely on the vagaries of outside forces? That would be a big shift in your thinking, wouldn’t it?
Free yourself from the mental barrier that there is no time for gardening. It is not based on fact in most cases. If you were to write down everything you did every half hour for a week you would find unproductive time that is not serving your needs. The time priority for people out of work is to look for a job but it may not be necessary or desirable to spend all day doing this. Taking an hour or two a day to plan and create a garden is constructive and will bear fruit in time. Learning a new skill is time well spent and furthermore, gardening can relieve stress and be an inspiration in the job search.
Change the belief that there is no space for a garden. It is a fact that people who live in condos and apartments usually don’t have personal yards and are subject to policies that prevent private gardening. Fears that people will make a mess of the landscape and create potential conflicts are reasonable but can be addressed through condo associations and agreements with landlords. Presenting a plan that allays fears could be the answer.
Where to begin? Investing in tools right now may not seem like a high priority for struggling families yet they would be a sensible investment if growing food becomes an important goal. Only a hand trowel is needed for container gardens but for in-the-ground gardens, the right digging spades, forks and hard rakes are needed. Mechanized tillers, in my opinion, just make a mess. A creative solution to reduce costs and work is to garden with a friend or neighbour, buy tools on discount days, and avoid wasting money on the wrong or cheap tools.
There is much gardening information online on growing food in other countries but virtually nothing for Bermuda. Even though Florida is in the same growing zone as Bermuda (10, 11) our soils and weather conditions are different. Find out from local sources what the differences are then the Internet can become your best gardening friend.
Seasonal planting guides to determine what to plant each month are available from nurseries. I advise choosing a sustainable organic method of gardening and start small. For beginners there is a free Self-teaching Handbook for the Grow Biointensive method at www.growbiointensive.org, select “Publications”. There are also free organic gardening seminars at local nurseries, and reasonably priced classes in Square Foot Gardening through the Community Education Programme, and Grow Biointensive Gardening via franceseddy[AT]logic.bm.
Go ahead and be victorious over this period of adversity. Start a Victory Over Recession Garden and discover the bountiful grower in you.