Originally Posted by KYHeirloomer
for the most part, most people live in or near big cities with no space or time for growing...
Joey, I grew up in the biggest of the big cities, and have been gardening since I was 8 years old.
There is almost always a way if the will is there: A couple of pots on a fire escape (which is how I started, btw); or the expanding trend to roof-top gardens; or in a vacant lot. There are churches, and libraries, and public buildings that often grant people the right to grow veggies on their land. And more and more we're seeing community gardens springing up.
We tend to say "city" and think only of the inner cities. But most cities actually are composed of neighborhoods, with single-dwelling and duplex housing being the norm. Those homes always have a small yard, often both a front yard and back yard. Condos and apartments have terraces where a few containers can be grown.
KY, yeah, if you're a good gardener i guess it will work. But most people we're talking about can't fry an egg, and you want to jump several steps ahead and grow their own food on balconies?
(On the side, unfortunately I've tried countless times to grow stuff on my actually quite large and sunny terrace, in a climate where you could grow SOMETHING all year and have had a couple of scrawny cucumbers and a couple of dried out tomato plants, at best. I have a small herb garden, that's about it. And an apricot tree that produced two apricots a year, and a lemon that gives me five lemons. I don't have the time or will after a day of work to go out and water every single night (in roman summer, you have to) and haven;t the least knowledge about growing stuff - anything i read always tells you about what kind of soil - mix a little of this and a little of that, but the local nurseries sell bags of dirt and that;s about it.
And, of course, living here, I can get the best vegetables you can imagine at the market down the street. )
Sure, most fruit and vegetables are not great in the US supermarkets, but even if they were most of these undernourished/badly nourished people have no idea what they are or what to do with them. Generations of people have not cooked so the young generations think it's an esoteric and refined art. It can be, but celebrity chef shows and all that make ordinary people think you have to have a huge kitchen with special equipment and all day to work in it to produce good food.
This is one reason why i harp constantly about the un-necessity of all those gadgets like instant-read thermometers and digital scales. It discourages too many people. Cooking becomes only for the elite.
Originally Posted by PeteMcCracken
One step would be to re-institute Home Economics into the public school system but this time, make it gender neutral! Teach students basic survival skills in preparing food beyond how to open a package and set the microwave!
I thoroughly agree, Pete. But one step before that is to make people know that education is in EVERYONE'S benefit, not just the ones with kids. Cut budgets to schools and you cut out kitchens and home ec. along with a lot of other stuff. (There's always plenty of money for gym equipment though!)
When i was a kid, we did nutrition in science class in middle school - had to come up with menus for balanced meals with some green, some starch, some protein. It was normal. In home ec we cooked things, and they were FUN - EVERYONE loved home ec. We girls felt lucky we got to cook and the boys didn't. Now it should be for everyone. I'm working on a cookbook for study abroad students who, for the first time, find they have to cook for themselves in countries where there are no giant aisles of pre-cooked stuff. Cooking could be part of college orientations. It should certainly be taught in high school.
Plus all this about the expense of food. I bought some cheap hamburger at the supermarket here - 7.50 euros a kilo. that would be $10.30 a kilo, and so about five dollars a pound? That is CHEAP meat here. Chicken thighs were 5.78 euros, so a little less, but i bet you get them cheaper there. Sure pumped up with hormones and antibiotics and genetically modified and all you like, but these were not free range. And don't think salaries are higher here because food is more expensive!
Purple sprouting broccoli at stop and shop might be expensive, but i'm sure you can get some staples - potatoes, cabbage, spinach, carrots, squash, etc, without spending a fortune.
The cooking revolution in the states has made it very appealing to be a foodie, but even more daunting for those who have no time and energy to cook.
Once there was a person at home who cooked. Now everyone works and comes home tired. I do too, I get home at 8. But i can get a balanced meal on the table in ten minutes. Why aren't the tv shows showing how to do that? Why aren;t schools showing how to do that?