Digging for one’s dinner was the principal food-gathering strategy for the eons before we humans ‘evolved’ to shopping carts…both literal and digital…to source our food. The digging stick was arguably the first food production tool. It eventually gave way to the fork – and then to the plough.
Our journey from the cave to the megaplex was plagued by issues of food security, nutritional deficiency and food quality. Most of us never had enough food…and what we had was often lacking in the vitamins and minerals that are essential for good health. When food is in very short supply, waste is less of an issue…but food quality diminishes over time. Suffice to say, most of what we ate was hard come by, lacking substance or on the nose.
Fast forward to 2020…food availability is at two extremes. Millions of us are starving…often to death…but the good news is that the rest of us have so much cheap food that we waste about a third of it…having ravaged the planet to grow it.
And it necessarily follows that, if you have plenty of something, you don’t have to worry about running out. Right?
The fact is that food security is, in certain circumstances, nothing more than a quaint notion.
In their relentless thrust to drive costs down (in pursuit of larger profits), the agribiz corporations have become addicted to the ‘just in time’ manufacturing mindset.
The availability of much of what we now eat relies on split-second integration of growing, post-harvest processing and distribution. If the ships, planes, power stations, trains and trucks stop…or the supply of fossil fuels that power them is interrupted…the food chain is impacted…and very quickly indeed.
As the events of 2020 have taught us, fate has an apparently long list of things that it can send our way to dispel any silly notions that we might harbour about things not being able to get any worse. 2020 has taught us that there’s no limit to how quickly things can go pearshaped…and the mayhem that ensues when the panic kicks in.
It’s time for a new way for us to source our nutrition without detriment to the planet. It’s time for us to shore up our food security by being able to grow fresh organic fruit and vegetables…and it’s time that we adopted a growing method that is sustainable.
Many would argue that we have everything we need at our feet.
Healthy soil is wonderful stuff, but there are a variety of reasons why soil-based gardening won’t suit most people:
- Most of the fertile soil that existed has been depleted by industrial farming with its dependence on chemical fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides.
- Good fertile soil is hard to find, expensive to buy….and requires plenty of work and ongoing supplementation and amendment to keep it in peak condition.
- Soil requires heavy applications of organic material to remain fertile.
- Successful soil gardening requires sound knowledge and skills.
- Soil can harbour unhelpful pathogens that can defeat your growing efforts while being difficult to eradicate.
To summarise…these uncertain times have tested our food production and distribution systems – and they’ve demonstrated that our food supply is not as secure as we thought. Food quality is also increasingly an issue. The answer is to grow our own food. Soil-based gardening is good…but there’s a steep learning curve and it relies on heavy supplementation and hard work.
What we need – right now – is a food production method that is simple to learn and easy to operate…one that is productive, resilient and sustainable.
Welcome to Sandgardening.