I READ a blog by Earthie Mama the other day about raising earth-conscious kids. I was struck by the many benefits of connecting our children to their planet. They are, after all, going to be the ones taking over our collective fiasco. We are grandparents to six beautiful children, five of them are Squamish Nation, and this is their land. They will be responsible for this land long before we are gone so what we teach them now will be the result of what we live as an example.
My husband has always been passionate about growing food and is now building an aquaponics system in our downtown backyard. We plan to add rabbits and chickens next year. Growing and eating the food we have raised is our way of insuring that we live a healthy and vibrant life, but is also a commitment to our family. We want a capable and resourceful family that can withstand adversity, and some of that adversity may be far beyond what we have ever had to endure.
After the most recent earthquake, Facebook lit up with dire predictions, admonishments to create evacuation plans and disaster kits. Conversations at our house centered around the many variables to creating that plan in our somewhat unique area. I live downtown by the Cattermole Slough. My plan consists of running across the street, jumping in any boat and cutting her loose. I may not have time for anything else, and it least I have a plan. What we can consider is how we will survive after a disaster, be it ‘the Big One’ or the grid going down, economic collapse, etc. ad nauseum.
Growing food is a good start. Most doomsday preppers are accumulating for themselves. Laying in stores of food and water for their family and ammunition and weapons to insure that no one else can steal. It is certainly one way to view survival, but it seems to be a very narrow view. Teaching ourselves and our children to grow food is more of a ‘fishes and loaves’ approach. Having these skills allows everyone to provide for the entire community. In the event of a disaster there is plenty rather than scarcity.
Studies have proven that kids eat far more volume and varieties of vegetables if they have been involved with both growing and preparing their food. Involving them in the research process sets them up with some pretty valuable survival skills as well. Learning about soil, quality seeds, sunlight, water, drainage and the importance of caring for the plants creates a connection to earth. Learning to can and dry food, much like our ancestors, teaches history and resourcefulness. When we talk about food science and biology, we share the importance of eating to our health. Good food leads to good health, and that is a legacy we can all get our hands into.
I say grow food. Grow food in planters downtown. Grow food in our front yards, not just the back. Grow food on District land, on Crown land, and wherever the light and soil make it possible. Hire landscapers to tend your gardens, rather than ornamentals. Have you seen the beauty of a row of thriving tomato plants, or the rich ruffles on kale? But don’t just take my word for it. Talk to your family about the possibility. Plan your spaces, or get advice from great gardeners in your neighbourhood. Plan your garden around what you cook. Make a wish list. Talk about ways to share the surplus. Donate raw vegetables or cooked meals. Have a big neighbourhood party later in the summer to celebrate and eat what you have grown.
Just grow food.