It's really pretty amazing how much time and effort goes into raising one's own food, vegetables that is. Take the common carrot for instance. We painstakingly plant thousands of seeds a few at a time in mid-April being careful to do so while the weather cooperates so the tiny seedlings are not washed away by harsh weather. Then there are always those few that need to be replanted for reasons usually unknown.
When June rolls around, we proceed to carfully thin and weed them for the first time. We weed and water, weed and water, continuously nurturing them until the end of August at which point there is often some rain and our constant battle with the weeds has been won...leastwise temporarily. We can then take a short breath before diving into the late September harvest, which requires us to pull, sort, and box them up for storage. A few months into storage they need to be checked. Is the soil damp enough for them? Are there any bad ones that might spoil those layered underneath? Carrots are a bit of work and they are also one of the most carefree crops we grow.
May carrots poking through the earth in our slightly raised beds
Same carrots, over five month later. We love the Lunar and Belgian whites.
So considering the amount of effort involved, why on earth would we choose to grow our own food rather than buying it from the stupermarket or better yet eating out at a restaurant or local fast food joint? Simple, we do it for the immense satisfaction of knowing that what we are putting into our bodies is of the highest possible quality. We do it for the pure pleasure of playing some small role in the development of these extraordinary edibles that nourish us body and soul. But mostly, for the empowerment that goes along with knowing that we can feed ourselves without relying upon others, having long since lost faith in the so called powers that be to do so for us.
My question is, why on earth wouldn't you want to know how to feed yourself? It's really not how much you grow so far as having the knowledge to do so if you ever had to.
Only a man harrowing clods
In a slow silent walk
With an old horse that stumbles and nods
Half asleep as they stalk.
Only thin smoke without flame
From the heaps of couch-grass;
Yet this will go onward the same
Though Dynasties pass.
Yonder a maid and her wight
Come whispering by:
War's annals will cloud into night
Ere their story die.
-- Thomas Hardy
Is Thomas Hardy right, will simple daily tasks and passions outlast all else, or have we already forgotten how to fulfill our most basic needs? Surely as long as we live agriculture will continue, but in what form?