I love the argument about whether food produced from gardening is free, inexpensive, or expensive. Really, what does it matter if you enjoy doing it? No, Alice Waters is wrong, food supplied from The White House Garden or any other garden is not free. I am quite sure when all is said and done the food from the White House garden will be very expensive. Can you you imagine all the associated costs with having a garden in a place like that? Like any hobby you can spend as much or little as you want. George Ball will gladly explain how a garden produces much more in food than the costs associated with gardening.Â I don't like the idea of using the costs involved with gardening, low or high, to induce people to garden. Can you save money gardening as opposed to shopping at the grocery store? Sure, after you have developed the garden over a period of years.Â There is no way you can grow vegetables here in the foothills of The Sierra without a certain amount of work and money to get the granite to give back. Now after the soil has been conditioned, or raised beds put in, the costs can drop dramatically. But free? Never.
This is the argument the small farmer has been fighting for years. Ask any small organic farmer if growing food is free. I am a small farmer and can assure you growing food is not free. We work six and seven days a week, sometimes ten hours a day. I haven't had a vacation since I don't know when. This is what bugs me about the gushing going on with the current gardening scene. Telling people that gardening will save them money is not the first argument I would make. Peace of mind, exercise, being outdoors, fantastic tasting, healthy food, etc. are some of the reasons to garden.
I, as a small nursery owner love the fact that gardening is "in". Our sales are up and I feel much better about the year before us, than I did before Christmas. I actually like the fact that there is all this talk going on concerning costs associated with gardening. The blogosphere hashes these things out, people take sides, and we move on. All this attention is great for the small farmer and nursery.
I think Doug Green summed it up well.Â "Not only do we now have breathless prose for Victory Gardening, we also have the pundits arguing about how much it costs to actually have a vegetable garden. Good grief." Like Doug, I remember the last time we had this type of hype in the 70's. " The last time this kind of 'debate' raged was back in the 70â€™s when we all knew it was tongue-in-cheek to cost out the roto-tiller, the fencing, the nanny to watch over the kids, the 4Ã—4 to haul the produce to market etc etc etc. And equally spurious is bragging about how much money you saved on your garden."
Gardening has been around forever. Forget about what you will save on food by growing your own. What is more important is you will be growing healthy, great tasting food.Â You'll have the satisfaction of having done it yourself. That's it!
And that's enough.