My Grandfather fought in the First World War, as did many men from his rural community. When the Second World War came along he was married with children (the middle child my mother). Luckily he was employed and living in a vibrant and supportive rural community. He was the Post Master in his community. My Grandmother took care of the Post Office most of the time while my Grandfather worked at a variety of other jobs. My Grandparents also ran the local General Store and Gas Station, and again my Grandmother “manned” the business counter for both. They were wonderful people, honest, hard-working, intelligent, kind… They represent everything I admire in human beings.
Most of what I value about being alive has been learned either directly from them or from their daughter, my mother, and her sisters. As a small child I seriously confused their home and community with heaven.
One of the things I remember quite vividly was my Grandparent’s garden. It was a good sized garden, growing a variety of vegetables. The land surrounding my Grandparent’s house had little topsoil covering the granite below, so their gardens were planted on family property down the road. It was a treat to accompany my Grandmother to the garden every day, to gather the vegetables we would eat for dinner the same evening.
My Grandparent’s also harvested wild edibles to supplement their diet. Lovely days spent picking wild strawberries, or raspberries, or blackberries, or blueberries are mine to remember. Often after an outing to pick berries, my Grandmother would bake a berry upside down cake, in the oven of her wood stove.
My reminiscences are a direct result of poking around the Internet this morning before I left for work. I was looking at sites related to sustainability, moved on to urban farming and from there ended up viewing World War II videos about Victory Gardens. And that is how I came to be thinking about my Granny’s garden.
The promotion of Victory Gardens wasn’t just hype, it wasn’t royal commissions, or expensive research to establish simple concepts; it simply promoted agency and self-sufficiency in the general population.
My how things have changed!!!!! Instead of promoting growing healthy food for victory, leaders are being forced to descend into a nightmarish conflict with corporate capital to save the population from empty calories, in the form of “addictive” sugary drinks.
“New York expanded its anti-obesity campaign on Thursday with a proposal to ban the use of food stamps to buy sugary drinks, drawing beverage industry complaints that it is another government attempt to tell people how to behave.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Governor David Paterson asked the U.S. government to ban the purchase of soda pop and sweetened fruit drinks with food stamps — the federal vouchers used by 42 million low-income Americans buy food.
They called sugar-sweetened beverages the largest single contributor to the obesity epidemic.”