That may be a bit of a provocative question. Here are some foods that will be perfect for the winter, and they store well. Sitting quite innocently are butternut squash, cabbage, beans, canned tomatoes, and canned peaches. While there are many other vegetables that could be sitting there, it is a start. My onions didn’t do so well, and I am still working on a grain.
Most people in the US don’t worry that much about what they will eat, let alone what they are going to eat this winter. I don’t have the stats on how many people go hungry in the US compared to the global number, although I would venture to guess it has gone up with the virus.
The question is meant to get us to think about not only growing our own food but planning for the winter. It has only been in the last five years that I have really been actually trying to grow as much food as I can. Before that, I only grew flowers. And, as is the case with many things, I have known about climate change, which has now changed to climate crisis, for about 10 years, and the importance of growing our own food and acting on it. Some information needs to settle in before it actually becomes action or goes to the next level of awareness.
This concept of planning food for the winter is not new. People across the globe do it all the time. They are not lulled or in the bubble of the separation from Nature. Here in the US, we have Big Box stores for everything, and we can get anything at any time of day.
Perhaps our experience with the pandemic may give us reason to be concerned about food security. If we remember at our Big Box grocery stores at the start of the pandemic, there were empty shelves of . . . yes, toilet paper, among other things. And, if you notice some nine months since it started, even now there are still empty shelves of various products.
For some reason, the pandemic was responsible for many people starting gardens and canning for the first time. It was most likely because everything was shut down the first three months, and it gave people something to do rather than be concerned about food security. I am thankful for that.
A pandemic is so much more immediate than the slow process of the climate crisis. People are dying now from the pandemic. Why should we worry about the climate crisis? People have been talking about it for decades. But, people have been and are now dying from the climate crisis. We just don’t see it as much or equate a hurricane or forest fires with the climate crisis. It is not labelled as such in news reports. Well, there may be an occasional news story that ties the climate crisis into the hurricane or forest fire.
So, how do we get people to act on really being serious about growing their own food . . . and planning what we grow for the winter? That is a difficult question, and one that has been asked many times for many issues. Perhaps people don’t have all the facts, or they don’t see the immediate need to act.
Our food system contributes a lot of CO2 to the climate crisis, which is the main reason to grow our own food. The problems with our supply chain during this pandemic is another reason to grow our food.
Let’s go back to the butternut squash and other vegetables sitting there. While many people may grow a garden with tomatoes, green peppers, lettuce, cucumbers, radishes, corn, etc., how many people are thinking about what they are going to eat this winter? Probably not many. And, as the climate crisis starts to unravel more noticeably, getting off the grocery store will be more crucial.
Growing food is one of the most immediate things people can actually do to help the climate crisis. Planning for the winter is just as important as growing all those vegetables we enjoy during the summer.