It sounds bitter to say what I have to say. But it is the truth. painful and clear to me.
The world went back to “normal” this year, and became apathetic.
For blue states like Washington, normal came a lot later than much of the United States. Our governor dug his heels in so deeply that the rule for face masks in health care settings didn’t go away till April this year. And some hospital settings still require it. But as the “freedoms” were given back, people just became apathetic. No longer did they care. Their inspiration was gone overnight. They could travel, plexiglass came down, and everything opened back up. No longer were there vaccine rules for work and travel. Even though inflation took over and prices surged. Where I live gas is $2 more per gallon than 2 states over in Idaho. They just pay it – $5.39 a gallon currently. Life hasn’t returned to normal in the grocery stores either, but no one seems upset. Stripped shelves? It’s still so common people just keep walking. It often feels so dystopian. Yet in other states their prices are so much lower for groceries, and the shelves are stocked.
But where it really hits hard was watching people not caring about growing food anymore. I noticed it during late winter this year. The enthusiasm I had seen for the last 3 growing seasons wasn’t there. Life was just normal enough they didn’t have the feeling they needed to grow food anymore. Or were they desensitized to $5 a pound strawberries and $5 a head of cauliflower? I don’t know.
My view is those who grew before the pandemic years, they are still growing food. Those who started during the pandemic run? They have walked away from it. They were only growing food because they felt panicked, trapped and had fear. With all that gone, they are back to relying on the global food supply, eating food that grown by Big Ag. It might bot be perfect, it might have massive issues…but as long as they can buy (most of) what they want, then it’s OK.
This shows just how few people grow their own food in the US. And how reliant they are on grocery stores to eat. We of course not unusual, many first world countries function similar.
So getting back to “normal” isn’t a good thing. It means nearly no one is growing their own food if we are back to 2020 numbers.
But of course this isn’t necessarily easy to do. It requires a commitment and less freedom of time. But it really isn’t that much time once you are done with infrastructure. In the photo above it can be overwhelming to think of doing all that work. But you don’t do it in a year. It takes at least a few years, fitting in projects when you have time and the money/resources to complete it. The overall day in and day out though is just checking on watering, plant health and harvesting/seeding. This can be 15 minutes to an hour daily in grow season. In the off season it is often weeks without doing anything unless you are building a project.
I recently offended a person on social media by talking about growing food. They told me I was unrealistic – because they had a job, kids and their kids needed to be driven around every day for sports and classes. That MY growing food somehow offended them because they had made life choices where they had no free time. Well, perceived free time. When I pointed out how little time it takes, they went the anger route (which is typical). How I didn’t understand. I have 3 children. So yeah, I get time constraints and all. Often I do the work needed after dinner and dishes. I work quickly in the cool evening. Would it be more fun to sit on the couch and watch TV with the family? Well of course it would be more fun! But….when we are eating fresh produce it is worth having gotten up.
We all get 24 hours a day. How we spend those hours is up to each of us. How and where we live can of course affect it – and no, not everyone has a quarter acre or 5 acres to grow food on. Yet, even in an apartment you can grow in pots. Every apartment I lived in when young I always had pots somewhere. In college I had them on my neighbor’s roof, which I could reach by leaning out my kitchen windows. It had a scenic view of Interstate 5 right in town, but I sure grew tomatoes aplenty! It wasn’t glorious, but I tried.
If we were to follow his advice above, the love of growing food would follow.
Grow your 5 favorite veggies. Learn how to grow them successfully. Harvest and enjoy them. Repeat and repeat. And you will find how much you love doing it.
But don’t be apathetic. Don’t give up.