Thursday, January 18, 2007

The art of survival

Farming's most elemental confidante yet ruthless antagonist is the weather. It is a relationship that farmers have no choice but to accept, and few take it for granted. And it's not easy when weather, like the recent cold in California, destroys US $1 billion in crops.
The crops affected most were oranges, lemons, and tangerines. And for us, it will mean an increase in prices for those fruits at the stores.
Weather has destroyed crops before and markets adjust until that crop can be replenished or that food can be imported from further away. But weather patterns are getting more extreme and unpredictable. Seasons are occuring for irregular periods, upsetting harvesting patterns.
So what are we supposed to eat?
A realistic goal is to eat what is seasonal and to eat food that is grown and produced as locally as possible. The difficult part of this is accepting sacrifice, not having the vast choice we are accustomed to. Eating locally grown, organic food has its own rewards, however. It supports the local economy and a reduction in travel means less pollution is created.
Vancouver has a local farmers market society and initiatives for urban farming are gaining popularity.
Your Backyard Farmer, started by two farmers in Portland, Oregon, provides community based farming and creates "small sustainable organic farms at your backdoor."
Growing food is an art. More than that, it is a skill that sustains the ecosystem we live within and survive upon.

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