Issues with food costs and security could never be more prevalent than right now. When the COVID shutdowns were first announced, panic buyers and hoarders emptied the store shelves. Politicians assured us there would be no interruptions to the supply chain, but we did see rising food costs because of demand. Items that had been on sale before no longer were, because when there is demand, prices go up. I’m sure most have heard that a number of retailers and industry giants have had record profits because of COVID and have made so much money because of the demand.
Just before Christmas, I was in the grocery store, stocking up for our Christmas dinner, food and fixings just for me and my kids. There would be no traveling to see family, and family couldn’t come to see us because our governments had asked us to stay home. An order had been put in place to limit our bubble to just our house, which is me and my kids. What outraged many was the sheer number of politicians who felt the rules did not apply to them and traveled anyway. We were a little choked, me and my kids, as we haven’t seen our family in a long time. While we’ve made sacrifices, there are those who haven’t.
So there I was in the grocery store, a big chain owned by an industry giant. Limits were supposed to have been placed on the number of customers in the store, according to the government, and COVID protocols were supposed to be followed, yet the place was so overcrowded that the lineup in the bakery department alone went around the entire store. We all wore masks, but there was no distancing, and people were bumping into each other. It took over an hour for me to get to the front to buy my groceries, and as I counted the prices of everything in my head, I saw they had been grossly inflated, so much so that the final cost was nearly three times what it should have been. My daughter had to remind me to let go of my outrage, as I found it sickening that the huge chain grocery store had exceeded the number of people allowed inside, with no oversight or enforcement, and had jacked their prices up during a high-demand period, because people have to eat.
Remember that childhood garden? I grew up in the city, but my parents had been farm kids, with my grandparents growing their own food and doing their own canning. We grew a huge garden in the backyard every summer, and I remember nearly everyone on our street did, as well. The garden was planted as soon as the snow disappeared and was harvested in the fall, but we had fresh vegetables to eat all summer. I remember walking out there and pulling a carrot from the ground to eat it, or fresh peas. But having a garden is also work. You have to weed it and water it. Maybe because of the fast, busy, go-go lifestyle we’ve shifted into over the past few decades, more and more families have moved away from having a garden. We’ve forgotten how to plant a garden and grow it, and maybe gardening has become a thing of the past. Wasn’t it back in the eighties that farmers started going bankrupt, driven out of business by giant corporations and retailers who control the food prices?
But what if families started going back to planting that garden in the spring? I know when COVID hit, it had been a good many years since I planted a garden. I hadn’t considered it, because going to the store had become so convenient. But I think back to my parents and my grandparents, who had a garden to feed their families. My parents grew up during the depression, but they always had food. They didn’t rely on giant corporations to supply it. After that wakeup at Christmas in the grocery store, I already have seeds sprouting inside the house, because not only am I unwilling to buy into that greed, but seeing it has had me saying to my kids that it’s time we planted a garden every year. For one, it’s healthier. There’s something special about having your own garden, putting in the time, and knowing how food is grown. And as I think back to my childhood, seeing that massive garden, I can also remember how good it tasted.