I recently came across this article in our local paper, describing how a large tract of public land in Everett will be used to grow food for local food banks. It will also provide a place for local residents to practice subsistence farming – the ultimate pioneer experience. (Subsistence farming is growing enough food, often year-round, to feed your family.)

The Volunteers of America will farm 4 acres of this land to raise food for over 12 local food banks. The remainder of the land will be used by the public, for a fee, depending on plot size. Think of it as a community P-Patch, but on a much larger scale. The idea is to provide enough food to feed your family year-round. We have a mild enough climate here in Western Washington that our growing season is long enough to often get two or more crops of food. This is the way people have fed their families since the so-called agricultural revolution, back in the Fertile Crescent. This self-sustaining, small-scale agriculture was common up through World War II, when American and British households planted Victory Gardens.

Food banks are facing a lot of hardships in our current economy. As with many social services, donations are down, but demand is up. Farming public land is a great way for food banks to increase their supply of healthy, nutritious food. Food banks too often get the food that “the rest of us” don’t want – unhealthy canned soups, pasta, and other bottom shelf items. Food bank gardens and gleaning projects provide healthy food to those who need it. Hooray!

In other news, we had crazy rain last night and I think my peas grew a foot overnight. Also, the Eight Ball Zucchini has a flower! I can’t wait for fresh zucchini. Yum!

My first flower on the zucchini plant

I built a new “trellis” support for the snap peas with bamboo from my parents back yard. Don’t you just love free building materials?

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