Monday, May 12, 2008

the little garden that could

It's time to plant in our little backyard garden again. It might be because of my Dakota roots (that's my grandma's old chicken coop & chickens) that I really enjoy having a garden -- especially because Hubby does about 95% of the work in it. :) We mostly have tomatoes, pumpkins, cucumbers, and peppers.

(photo of Hubby in goofy hat was taken a couple of years ago)

As you can see, our garden is small, but from what I've been reading it sounds like small is better than nuthin'. Check out food routes and local harvest. Here's what I've learned:

Yikes! #1:
Only about 10% of the fossil fuel energy used in the world's food system is used in production; the other 90% goes into packaging, transportation, and marketing. 90%?! Aaaargh!

Yikes! #2:
Most produce in the U.S. is picked 4 to 7 days before being placed on supermarket shelves, and is shipped for an average of 1500 miles before being sold. And this is when taking into account only U.S. grown products! Those distances are substantially longer when we take into consideration produce imported from Mexico, Asia, Canada, and South America.

Yikes! #3:
Only 18 cents of every dollar, when buying at a large supermarket, go to the grower. 82 cents go to various unnecessary middlemen.

So I have renewed respect for our little garden. And I'm going to make more of an effort to buy locally grown food whenever possible. Not only is it better for the environment and local community, but the food should be fresher and tastier too.


Presbyterian Gal said...

You are a shining example for all of us!! I am trying to figure out how to work a little garden in our yard that won't be plundered by the local plundering critters.

And the fuel thing is just so awful. I've been googling sites looking for alternatives to plastics, to try to rid my house of as much as possible.

And shopping with local growers is a great idea. Gotta get back to the farmers market here.

dust bunny said...

Will you trade tomatoes for labor? :)

Rev SS said...

Amen. Good plan. As one raised on fresh fruits and vegetables grown in rich Iowa dirt in my own back yard, I guarantee the HUGE difference in quality and taste.

Could you please grow me some tomatoes, green beans, corn and carrots???? -:) (Meantime, our local growers will be selling their just down the street from me on Saturdays ... and I'm. so. there.)

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

oh could your husband come work our garden too? hubhc was used to a large garden on the farm growing up... and this year i tried to tell him we need one. he says not without a tiller... and so the debate rages on at the hotcups. but there's nothin' like garden fresh tomatoes!

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

Oh my. I was thinking about not growing any produce this year, but your stats are making me rethink that idea. Interesting post.

Diane said...

Hurray for your little garden! I really want to have one. I just had a few tomatoes last year.

Jan said...

I wish we had your climate here--things would grow much better! It's too hot now to plant.

AND I did ask about such a creative blog header!! Thanks. I'm waiting now.

Barbara B. said...

thanks everyone, you're all invited for tomatoes :)

(and jan, hope the blog header works out!)

Jan said...

BTW, I've tagged you for an oddly familiar meme, which you can ignore and I will not mind at all!