Take Control of Your Future

Through posters, the United States government attempted to capture the public’s attention during World Wars I and II. The posters were actually urgent war messages about the need for both farmers and private citizens to grow food in order to divert more to the troops in action. They conveyed simple ideas about ways to grow, preserve and conserve food. Here’s one that was very popular:


Now here’s the same poster reproduced for today:

The second one’s got an updated look, but the message remains the same: taking control of our food supply can help us take control of our future. That’s profound when you think deeply about it! Taking control by growing what you can in your own front or back yard, by shopping at farmer’s markets or locally owned retail markets that support local or regional food growers, by gleaning in farmer’s fields after the crops have been harvested, by foraging, by joining a food coop, subscribing to a CSA or by becoming part of a community garden, allows us to not only eat healthier and for less money, but it also offers us a blessed sense of assurance that we can feed our families regardless of the state of the economy, droughts and crop failures, or the outcome of the November elections. While many Americans are still losing their homes to foreclosures (see Foreclosures are up for first time in 27 months), losing their jobs to foreign countries and losing their minds over personal debt and inflation, the peace and satisfaction of knowing you can put food on the table is priceless.

This is not an ‘all or none’ proposition folks…start where you can and go from there. I’m already considering digging up the foundation plantings around my new home and replacing them with beautiful, edible plantings of fruits, berries, and perennial vegetables like rhubarb and asparagus. One side of my home is partially shaded, so I’m thinking about trying some huckleberries, gooseberries or black currants there, as well as some leafy greens. I realize some of us absolutely can’t grow food but many of us can, or could, with a little determination and imagination. During the World Wars, encouraged by the posters, private citizens produced over 40% of the fruits and vegetables that were eaten in the US! 40%!! By making gardening a family and community effort, we can do that again. Gardeners could feel empowered by their contribution of labor and rewarded by the produce grown.

Just like with any worthwhile project, gardens and orchards don’t produce overnight and require time and patience to come to fruition. Learning to keep bees or a small backyard flock of hens also takes time to collect your equipment, provide the housing and learn the how-to’s involved. The time to begin this work is now, not when there are already shortages. None of us will ever be able to be 100% food self-sufficient. That takes a community. But if we can learn to grow and preserve even some of our food, commit to a plant-based diet, eat only that which is in season, and then work within our communities to grow a strong local economy, we’ll all eat, regardless of what the future holds. Doing it ourselves rather than waiting on the government or anyone else –THAT’S taking control!


1 Comment so far
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I love that you say to start from where you are. I think many people get overwhelmed when they try to take control feeling like it should be all or nothing.

Comment by Tammy

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