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Gardening and raising some farm animals was once a necessity for my family.
I wish more poor folks had access to the land and more control over what they could eat.
Written on 17 March, 2013 by Michaelsphere.
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I claim dual citizenship between the urban core of Minnesota's Twin Cities and a slice of rural heaven in west central Wisconsin's bluff country. North and Northeast Minneapolis served as my home for the first nine years of my life. But my parents' divorce and my Mom's remarrying led to a move to a hobby farm nine miles outside of Arcadia, Wisconsin. The divorce, the move, and the exploitative wages from my second dad's employer resulted in my family going from lower working class to working and certifiably-poor. Our blended family of six lived in a cramped and dilapidated trailer home with some haphazard additions tacked on. Our home's heating system sucked (e.g. I once woke up with my pajamas frozen to the wall next to my bed). Leaks and mold were everywhere. We had no doors in our home; doors were places to add on small additions. Curtains kept our privacy. My home was a place where the water pipes froze for a few weeks each winter (sometimes longer). Us kids would get home each night to lug water on a sled from the barn - think the distance of two city blocks up an uneven and gravelly road. Rinsed out milk cartons for drinking water, plastic ice cream pails for filling the tub and flushing the toilet. Have I painted an adequate picture of want? Part of what reduced this want is part of the reason I started my blog "Soil and Solidarity" (http://soilandsolidarity.com) Our garden, our farm, and the animals that lived on it fed us. Every year we had a huge garden that put food on our table. Goats supplied us with milk. Chickens gave us plenty of eggs. Berries became a special treat from a walk in the woods. And, while am now a vegetarian, I am thankful for the hunting my dad did. Venison was a staple that reduced our grocery costs. I should also note that the trees on our land provided my family with firewood to keep our family somewhat warm during the winter. Poverty sucks. But it is a little more bearable when you have good food to eat. Our land removed this aspect of poverty from my family's daily life. I wish more poor folks had access to the land and more control over what they can eat. It would / could reduce the some of the harshest impacts of poverty. Chronic hunger severely impacts childhood development: physical, mental, and chemical. Thankfully, I am no longer poor. My wife and I own a house. Both of us have good jobs. While I no longer want for good food, I want good food. And so, I keep a garden in my backyard. Green leafy vegetables, green beans and peas, summer and winter squash, tomatoes and peppers, and much much more come from a 30 ft by 20 ft plot given ample sun nearly every day.


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