John Block Reports from Washington
John Block has dedicated his professional career to the fields of agriculture, food and health.
Apr 24, 2009
It’s spring. Time to plant your garden. That is one way to contribute to the green revolution. Michelle Obama has set the example by digging up part of the White House lawn to plant vegetables. Family gardens are the way to go.
I am all for this idea. Last year, I planted my tomato plants. Unfortunately, the squirrels ate the tomatoes just before they were ripe enough to pick. The squirrels, the little thieves, stole all the apples from my apple tree. The deer ate the tops off my pepper plants and my flowers. Back to nature gardening is not easy.
When I was a boy on the farm, my grandfather kept our garden. I was required to hoe the weeds that attacked the peas and beans. The potato bugs tried to eat the potato plants.
I am delighted to see the new emphasis on gardening. Some chickens in the back yard would be fine with me. Having a cow to milk might be a little much. Locally grown farmer markets are wonderful. I prefer to buy locally grown when I can.
The value in having more people trying their hand at growing their own food is educational. They realize how difficult it is. It is backbreaking work. Your plants are under constant attack from weeds, insects, disease, and animals.
You soon come to understand why most of our food is produced by commercial farms that specialize in the business. They have machinery and equipment – not just a hoe and a spade. They use crops armed with biotechnology traits to protect against pests. Our commercial businesses transport vegetables and fruit to us from California and Florida in the winter months.
We process our beef and pork in plants with all the necessary equipment to cool and preserve the product. When I was a boy, I remember butchering a pig on the farm and my mother would can the meat.
Today, we produce food that is safer, and more affordable than in the past. We’re not going back to the “good old days.” It might be fun. It might be good exercise, but it’s not how we feed a hungry world.
Until next week, I am John Block from Washington, D.C.