SixEight Life

justice.mercy.journey

{SCS} Harvesting Change

Today’s guest post is written by Logan Lewis. Logan is a writer, traveller, and health food enthusiast, as well as a social justice advocate. I’m thrilled to introduce her as my first ever guest blogger. You can check out her website at  www.wannabenomad.com

The scene is straight out of the pages of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. A hundred slaves, dark backs sweating under a sweltering South Carolina sun while tufts of cotton drift lazily to the ground. But slavery is thing of the past, right? Everyone knows that human trafficking and sex slavery are enormous issues in every country, including our own, and thankfully they are gaining attention by leaps and bounds in the news and social media. But forced manual labor no longer exists… does it? I doubt if anyone pauses while choosing that perfectly ripe tomato at the grocery store to wonder if that juicy fruit was twisted off the bush 3 days earlier by someone who is being held against his will, bribed and beaten to work 12 hour days in the hot sun for little or no money.

It’s a tough pill to swallow: that our dollars are possibly to blame for the viscous cycle of modern-day slavery that feeds off American’s desperate desire for convenience and low price. It all comes to money. It always does.

Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to the freedoms of our fellow human beings—and before you despair thinking there is no resolution for an issue that seems so far removed from our suburban lives, rest assured the purpose of this blog post is not to make you feel guilty! It’s to encourage you that there can be a simple solution to complex problems.

Let me explain.

Supply and demand. Remember that lesson from your junior high economics class? Well, now can be a great time to make Coach Morris proud and show you were listening, after all  (despite the vacant daze).

Let’s cut the demand. And let’s solve two problems with one solution

The other problem I vaguely referenced above is America’s deplorable nutritional crisis. To keep tangents to a minimum, I’ll summarize: processed foods + little physical activity = unprecedented amounts of morbid obesity, disease, and a generation of children who will likely have a lower life expectancy than their parents.

So you’re probably wondering how slavery and America’s weight problem are even related, much less howPhoto Credit: pmulloy2112 (Creative Commons) you could possibly kill these two (relatively large) birds with one stone. Actually, your backyard—or back porch—is going to be doing most of the work.

Growing your own food shouldn’t sound like such a foreign idea. Until recently, it was quite the norm (and still is in the majority of most cultures around the world). There are countless resources to get you started. Don’t have a backyard? Check out vertical gardens on Pinterest or buy a couple of Topsy Turvys to hang from your balcony. If you only have a small amount of space, start with the fruits and vegetables that are 1) easy to grow and 2) cannot be harvested mechanically, thus requiring labor-intensive hand harvesting:

  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Broccoli
  • Watermelon
  • Cucumber
  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Squash
  • Peppers

There are also tons of free e-books and other paperbacks to get you started. Check out “Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on ¼ Acre” by Brett Markham.

I’m no farmer, but this year I made a 10’x10’ space in my backyard and am currently growing watermelon, tomatoes, green peppers, cucumber, zucchini, squash, okra, and strawberries. I find it truly satisfying and rewarding knowing the food I’m feeding my family isn’t loaded with pesticides or harvested by migrant workers who are underpaid.

Growing your own food is also a great way for young children to learn about nutrition and spark some great discussion. Check out my cousin’s post about her experience with her 2 kids:

Did I mention that home-grown tastes better than anything I’ve ever bought in the store? If you really want to get into growing food, it can save you a ton of money (and possibly make money too!)

Don’t get discouraged thinking it would be too hard or expensive. Get creative. Be open minded to new vegetables or fruits you’ve never tried before. Trade off with a friend or family member. And don’t be afraid to get your get your hands dirty : )

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