Poverty and hunger go hand in hand. It's often the rocketing food prices that cause the most issues - basics like bread, milk, cooking oil and sugar determine whether a family on the brink of survival sink or swim.
One of the terrible things Mugabe did to his Zimbabwean people a while back was outlaw and destroy backyard gardens - effectively starving out anyone with initiative enough to supplement the lack of food on the shop shelves and crops in the fields.
Yet I have this dream...
I've always lived hands-in-soil, relishing having a garden to work in. Unfortunately my current home doesn't have soil to dig in other than a couple of plants in pots, but funny enough that's really not a barrier to growing things.
I've blogged before about vertical gardens on walls and in hanging spaces. I've blogged about square foot gardening. Basically you can grow stuff in a very small space - and grow lots of it!
So my dream is this - to see hunger eradicated by taking back our outdoor (and indoor) spaces. It's a simple matter to throw a few seeds in soil, give them water and sunlight and harvest the results. Add in companion planting, maximum density planning, and you can turn a small patch of nothingness into a feast-producing garden.
I was horrified at the price of tomatoes recently (R19.99 per kilo!). They're obviously shipped from afar - yet it's easy enough to grow your own. Lettuce rows in discarded plastic guttering? Perfect. Pile up some retaining wall blocks, fill them with soil/compost and grow beans, carrots, peas etc? Awesome - call it an edible hedge if you want. Pile of tyres filled with straw, newspapers and earth growing potatoes? Cool! Hell, you can even hammer a few boards together, stick them on concrete, fill them with soil and go for raised bed gardening! Or go sort out a green roof for the house - and cut your cooling/heating bills at the same time.
The possibilities are endless - and we CAN produce enough good, wholesome, fresh and delicious food to feed the hungry of this world, one garden at a time. Without relying on huge tracts of single-crop land, without adding in genetically modified plants to counteract the resulting issues, without having to import anything. It may require re-education with regard to seasonal eating, but it's not rocket ('scuse the food pun) science.
OK, so big organizations that donate tons of food are doing great things - but hey, let's look at the small stuff too, OK? There's no reason why we can't make a difference at ground ('scuse another food pun) level, every single one of us.
Labels: blog action day