I was just reading a little bit about the concept of a Victory Garden. I had heard the term before, but never really thought about it or its meaning.
During WWI and WWII (also known as the 'War to end all wars' and the 'War to end all wars part 2 - Electric Boogaloo'), families on the home front planted vegetables, fruit and herbs on their own property to reduce the stress the average family placed on the public food supply.
These gardens also were a way to bolster public patriotism, allowing the average family to feel they were doing their part to help support the war effort.
After the war was over, the average family was apparently allowed to get selfish again, and stress public food reserves. I think that's how it worked, the books weren't specific.
Today, maybe it's time for Victory Gardens again. But this time, they won't be an attempt to support the war effort. Instead, they'd be a response to the high cost of fuel and food. Really, who's to say that didn't have part to do with the original victory gardens? I'm sure that, since the wars were stressing food supplies, prices were rising fast then, too. Planting a Victory Garden allowed a family to not only be patriotic, but to also be able to afford to feed their family.
I've grown up in a generation where, for most everyone I know, gardening, if done at all, is done as a hobby. "Oh great tomatoes! You grew these yourself? Effing suhweet!" Gardening was never really a means to get by.
I've tried a garden with minimal results. The birds ate all my strawberries, and all I ever got was zucchini - but I did get a lot of it.
I do have a membership in a CSA farm, so in a sense that's paying a membership fee for a local farmer to grow my Victory Garden for me, but isn't that partly only going through the motions, a slightly capitalist way of pretending to be a socialist (not that I prescribe heavily to either doctrine)?
So I really should focus next year on starting my own... I will call it a Protest Garden for the rest of this, as it's a protest against the cost of food and oil, and a mild protest against the reason those costs are so high. Rather than dealing with the problem, it's removing myself from the problem, and essentially eliminating part of it.
How self-sufficient can one get in the city? Not heavily, I'd imagine, without breaking zoning laws. You can't raise chickens in the city, although it would be ideal. Nor can you raise cattle.
Interestingly, should that be allowed, there's the Dexter. The Dexter is a breed of cattle that's only the size of a large dog and produces 16 pints of milk a day. You could keep one in your yard as a pet, getting milk from her for years, then when the time comes, steak her up.
But zoning wouldn't let you anyway.
Personally, I don't know why I'm even postulating the idea of farming in my yard. I wouldn't. I don't even like to mow, and honestly, if it were up to me, I wouldn't mind getting rid of my house for a few years, and vagabonding for a while.
If I could afford to, I'd like to spend a year or two driving around the country, stopping and staying the places that look interesting, with no real destination in mind at all, and just writing about it. Then, when the time was right, I'd stop somewhere and stay. That would be it.
I got a little taste of that last weekend. We were driving back from an undisclosed location, and got sidetracked. Repeatedly. That's the way I like things, and I think I could get used to doing it for a while.
Anybody want to foot the bill for me to vagabond for a year?