Consumers to Producers
It seems that we have inadvertently slipped into the trap of becoming consumers instead of producers.
As consumers, we rely heavily on pretty packaging to bring a lot of products to a strategically placed shelf, specifically designed to milk our finances. Our own laziness and lack of knowledge have led to an abundance of companies capitalising on our consumption. I believe that it is time to move backwards to move forwards. Many modern methods of agriculture are highly expensive, highly regulated and sprayed with noxious substances. All this and my tomatoes still taste better. Time and convenience have heavily outweighed patience and practice. It only takes a few attempts and a little knowledge to grow your own vegetables and even fruit trees successfully. Using methods that predate the use of chemicals will withstand the challenge of time. After all, humans have grown and cultivated their own food for thousands of years. I’m not saying that we should go back to the fields and grow grass like the first hunter-gatherers did. The main point is to promote producers, people who rely on their own garden for a proportion of food instead of bright colours and tasteless vegetables that you have to drive to get, carry home in plastic bags and use more water to clean away the chemicals. All these things promote pollution and leave residual residues that harm the environment. It is understood that we now have busier schedules to make ends meet and time is our biggest asset, but does anyone care anymore? We are too dependent on ready-made food.
So where do we start? There are so many choices and variables working against us.
Click here to learn how to grow sweet potatoes.
Start small, work your way up the ladder. Trying a simple and easy to grow crop that is not labour intensive or time consuming should help you catch the bug. Growing your first successful batch of food will impress your friends and leave you excited to try more. Things like radish are a good crop to start with. They can be grown in small spaces and they are fast to grow. Basil is also an easy crop. You can then move on to other things like tomatoes, carrots and eventually potatoes. There is no specific path and these are merely suggestions, the idea is that more people can be convinced to take some simple steps to a better, self-reliant world. You never know you might even enjoy yourself along the way. There’s nothing more calming than caring for plants and it can quickly become an obsession, believe me I know. I was given an Aloe vera plant when I was a teenager and I eventually filled the relative’s windowsills and my mum’s greenhouse with hundreds of plants I grew from the pups. I then moved on to tomatoes and found them so exciting to grow. Everyone you talk to has their own favourite variety and special ritual for growing, not to mention their own special formula for the soil which dates back generations in each family.
So what should I do? The garden has changed over the years to cement and gravel. I don’t have space, I don’t have the time.
A good way to move forward is to use containers or pots. A simple soil will host things like ginger through the warmer months. Just plant a rhizome in the centre of the pot around two inches under the soil. Water once a week and wait until you have multiple shoots. You can harvest what you need as you need it and leave the rest growing in the pot. Long planters are also very good for growing food scraps that we usually throw away. Spring onions, basil, garlic, carrot tops, onion roots and an array of other waste plant products can be regrown in this way. Just submerge the ends, tops or roots in water and place on the windowsill, patio, shelf in the greenhouse, balcony or kitchen top until you see the new roots or the growth of the plant has started. Transfer your new plants into the planter and take as needed.
So, it seems that there are a number of things we can do to become producers no matter how small we think we are. I hope that this article has provoked new thoughts and maybe even given you the inspiration to try something new. It is my aim to start the process and ignite new ideas. I would love to hear your thoughts, comments and innovations.
Please share your views, comments, ideas or tips in the comments section below.