You say potato, I say “Check!”

Magic: it’s not terribly common, but I seem to find myself experiencing it this time of year. With children around, harvest time is even more magical. “Can I pick and eat that?! … Look how big it is today! … There’s a butterfly!…” are a few excited phrases that escape from my 6 yr old boy on a regular basis.

Harvesting flavorful nourishment daily is not only useful, it is terribly satisfying. And perhaps especially for someone like me, who works a desk job, and needs a constant creative outlet. Tending a garden might seem like the venture of an expert, but I can assure you, with a little help from Google & your neighborhood garden shop, you to can be pulling potatoes out of a hat, er, bed 🙂

Gardening has been rewarding in other ways too. I now have much better perspective on natural elements that seemed unrelated to me before, like pests, frosts, and weather extremes. Sure, I experience the weather, but I am much more attentive when my dinner is at stake.

And it is at stake. In a very big way. Food insecurity around the world is on the rise and for many reasons. More mouths, fossil fuel reliance, vulnerable monoculture, political instability, superbugs (plant and human infections), loss of regionally diverse food production… Oh, and climate change.

I feel strongly, as many (in BC especially) do that if (or when) all else fails, a strong regional food system will prevent the most serious of consequences to society: hunger = unrest = state failure.

I’ve been told that in BC we probably don’t have the same worries as Egypt (video on their food security experiences). And fair enough. But if the working class is willing to rally and uproar about the HST because it might cost them as much as $100 per year more… Uh, I don’t think I need to explain how rising food prices might cause a problem or two.

In fact, the cries about HST are as much about food prices as they are about taxes. Food costs have already risen and are starting to pinch.

In my mind, a political win would be developing a regional food security strategy. Why?

  • British Columbians already care about this topic (I have good word we are the most food security concerned province and you only need to look at local governments like the CRD or Metro Van to get it)
  • Access to nutritious food is a daily concern for families.
  • The agricultural sector in BC has the potential to be a serious job growth sector (especially if not so lucky regions are creating more demand for food)

So there’s my influence peddling for this blog. Putting food on the table is #1 for families – pretty sure @ChristyClarkbc would not disagree. Want a policy paper? Here is a good start: Every Bite Counts – Climate Justice and BC’s Food System

Now, aside from enlightening policy circles, I also am passionate about reaching out to individuals to share my knowledge and experience, and to learn from them. Here is a fun video my son Jack and I made that chronicles a typical evening of learning and magic in the garden for us.

What do you think? Would you grow a potato patch now that you can see how easy it is? Have any questions for me?

I’d love to hear about your experiences dabbling in food security too. Why not post a link to your veggie garden pictures?

HB

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