BEWARE: Climbing On My Soapbox For This One .....
I was waiting for the 11 o'clock news to come on the television last night while working on my "list" for preparing my garden this weekend. And there were several commericals that struck me as I went about my business. There was one for government programs to help with "so and so", or government-backed programs to buy this or that, one for loans to consolidate debt (listing $25k unsecured credit card debt per family - YIKES !), one that advertised loan buy-out programs, one for health coverage for seniors stating that they are often forced to choose between food or meds / healthcare, and finally one for "food resources" for those in debt heavily. And while I understand that some of these programs might in fact be good things for some people, it is not my point that they should not be available necessarily. My question is why we do not look at the root for solutions rather than applying "band-aids" first. It seems that our sense of balance is off .... money vs debt, what we rely on as a habit, and independence. These commercials were followed then on the news by more than one snippet of a near-rant from politicians of various backgrounds about the war in the Middle East and how it is depleting our resources here at "home".
And what has this to do with gardening, you ask ? INDEPENDENCE.
It all began while we were looking online for garden diagrams and information on companion planting, and advice regarding how many plants to put in per family member. We stumbled on several of the Victory Garden Posters (several posted in THOUGHTS ON GARDENING 1 & 2). These posters date back to World War II. It was during these times that, in addition to fighting the war itself, our nation and government asked (and often required) all Americans to dig in, work hard, and conserve where ever possible. The burden of providing food AND the burden of supporting our nation fell on each individual just as much as on our government. Each person was to play a active role in the War by some method or another. What struck me in particular about these posters was that the instructions for "help" were directed at the individual American or the American Family - DO WHAT YOU CAN DO FOR YOURSELF AND THIS WILL HELP OUR GREAT NATION THROUGH THIS TIME IN ADDITION TO HELPING YOURSELF. The push toward independence, responsibility, accountability, and self-sacrifice was there "in black and white print" for every man, woman, and child. I am quite sure there was help available to those in need, but the large majority were encouraged and required to take an active role in supporting our nation AND in supporting themselves. And they were capable and were eventually to be a smashing success. They were asked to conserve resources, and to help provide food for themselves whenever possible. Thus came the birth of the Victory Garden.
So, as we prepare and plant our vegetable garden today - there is yet another fantastic lesson to be learned from History. We are doing this as a family activity (quality time), as a "school" project (education), and also in an effort to provide for ourselves what we can (independence, resource saving, conserving). We are using the resources God gave to us, as well as using the freedoms afforded to us by our great Nation. We are following the founding principles of our nation as we straive for independence and self-reliance. Also after seeing studies through the years that report overall better physical condition in persons who actively garden, there are even more benefits (health). The list can literally go on and on and on. I wish more families planted and harvested even a small plot for themselves - even just a few plants in pots or raised beds would be good. It would be not only to provide food for themselves more, but also would benefit them in so many other critical ways.
Now, why do we garden ? Why do I garden ? Well, the last few years we have been gardening solely with flowers and trees and bushes. This is the first large vegetable garden we have had in several years (our last one was 7 years ago). Let me see ........ I want to pass this "ability" on to my children. I want them to understand the value of hard work in terms other than literal dollars. I want them to understand where food comes from and how it is "produced". I want them to be outside in the fresh air and sunshine. I want them to understand what it means to "work the land". There are sooooo many more reasons we are doing this. But most of all, for me gardening brings a certain peace in my heart that comes from God ----- St. Francis I believe said that he felt closer to God in his garden than anywhere else on earth. This is the "best" part of the heritage I wish to pass on to my own children. There are so many benefits - body, mind, soul, and lifestyle - all from a simple garden. Can you just imagine if many others had this WILL for independence, CONCERN for conservation, SATISFACTION for hard work in the simple ways of life, WANT for education for their families, LOVE that comes from true quality time, and above all this sense of PEACE and CONNECTION to Our Father ?? What a wonderful world it would be !!
Now all of the children are ready .... so we are off to the Garden Shops for plants and seeds ...... and then we are coming home to set about putting in our Victory Garden. Victory not in the World War II sense, but Victory for God first, and then for our family, our home, and our nation .... our hearts entwined together with one another and with Him.