Fear of Unknown

By Jim Swettenham

As I join the rest of humanity in biding the old year and end of another decade farewell, I can’t help but think about the future without guarded fear and trepidation.

News reports, which are seldom good at the best of times, started alerting us back in the fall that the price of groceries was expected to increase in the new year.

Well as I write this on New Year’s Eve, my Mother’s 92nd birthday, I am reminded that, ahead of schedule, prices for some groceries have already been edging up.

I am also reminded that this is the time for many people to make, soon to be broken, pledges aimed at improving their lot in life…quit smoking, quit drinking, lead a healthier lifestyle with more exercise and better eating habits.

These are commendable goals but it is going to take a very concerted effort to make these things happen and sadly, many of us will fail only to make the same resolutions again this time next year.

But in spite of the darkness that may overshadow to dawning of 2020 there is a glimmer of hope that we can make things better for ourselves and members of our family and the community at large.

Do you have any idea how many people are slave to the supermarket check-out, even the self-checkout where private individuals are prepared to pay more for their groceries while also donating the time and services to ring up their own groceries at a cash register and then dig down deep for the debit or credit card before focusing on packing their own groceries!!!

But this series of refreshing articles can offer some encouragement by promoting the novel idea of saving some moola by growing your own produce!!!

Believe it or not there are still those of us who remember the excitement of having some guy come to your house on a spring evening after supper, start a machine that chewed up the dirt in the back yard so Mom and Dad could plant a garden from which came a bountiful supply of fresh radishes, peas, beans, corn and potatoes. The miracle of tender shoots popping out of the ground in long straight rows was truly amazing. In this day and age when few know where their food comes from there is still hope for growing fresh produce and it can be done right on the family kitchen table without a lot of fuss and muss.

For those of us who live in urban communities or adjacent to larger cities we need to be very concerned about something called “urban sprawl” where productive growing land is being taken out of use in favour of huge houses and meandering streets and commercial development covered with pavement. When that happens it means extra transportation costs for delivering produce which could have been grown locally and guess who pays for those costs???

Some people are born with a “green thumb” but most gardeners are novices at growing their own vegetables but the rewards of producing something from your own backyard or kitchen tabletop is extremely rewarding. There are many garden centres where staff are more than willing to sit down and discuss your gardening and growing needs and the internet and projects such as this informative series of fun articles can be great resources for novice gardeners. There is a great organization called 4-H which caters to primarily young people but they have a great motto “Learn to do by doing” and that motto fits all people and all aspects of our lives…including exploring the opportunities of growing your own food in a garden patch or a container on an apartment balcony or in a spare room in your home.

Imagine the satisfaction of having your children or grandchildren plant some radish, carrot or bean seeds in a container or in a patch of dirt in the backyard and seeing the excitement when tender green shoots start popping up out of the dirt…and don’t worry about planting a seed upside down!!! Plants have an inner sense that they need to grow towards the light and so you can rest assured that an upside-down seed will always grow a right-side up plant!!!

So stay tuned as together we can explore things that are beneficial to the environment and beneficial to you and your health…not to mention your pocketbook!!! Happy growing…

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