Making Ends Meet

June 10, 2008

Last night on The Story, Dick Gordon had an interview with a woman living in Atlanta.  The point of the interview was how hard it is for a regular working family to make ends meet even when both parents work.   You can hear it here.

To recap, Melissa Hilliard works full time and still gets money for food and goes to a food bank monthly.  Her husband works full time and they have three kids.  She said growing up, she never went without but her parents never discussed money with her and she did not know how they did it.

The story really got me to thinking. I think one answer is family gardens.  My grandparents had huge gardens, and my parents had a garden all my life.  My maternal grandmother lived in town, in a subdivision, and she devoted over half her yard to food.  She worked full time in a factory, raised three kids, and still had a garden.

My grandparents had a family garden, plus they raised crops to sell.  My parents had a big garden that we worked every year.  We grew peas, butterbeans, tomatoes, okra, squash, eggplant, peppers, and corn.  We canned and froze all that we could.  I remember the freezer being full of food, and the pantry being packed with colorful glass jars.

The trick that most people my age miss is that you don’t have to have a huge space to grow food.  A windowsill can get you started. I am starting with one raised bed, and one hanging pot.  It seems to be going well, and I plan to expand next year.  There are peas and corn planted at my grandparents, more than they can eat.  I will pick what I can and put up my own canned and frozen produce this year.

I have been thinking about that struggling woman and her family in Atlanta.  She said she doesn’t know that many people in Atlanta.  I wish I could send her some seeds.

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