The real cost of the food in the local supermarket is far more than what you pay at the checkout counter. In his new book, Just Grow It Yourself, botanist and author David G. Fisher compares home gardens to industrial food head to head, from taste and nutrition to cost, safety, and yield. Contrary to the popular narrative, he concludes that per pound of food production, home gardens are vastly more efficient than the industrial food system while delivering far superior health, social, economic, and environmental benefits. The principal cause of this finding is the $trillions in external costs the industrial food system incurs but doesn’t pay for, and the fact that home gardens incur very low internal as well as external costs.
Among scores of gardening books, Just Grow It Yourself is also unique in:
•Suggesting that the most important measure of a home garden’s worth is how long it would support a person if all their food came from it.
•Illustrating how and why home gardens could become the major source of our food.
•Proposing that home and community gardens replace food banks and other temporary, disempowering solutions to alleviating hunger for the food insecure.
•Asserting that home gardens are our best hedge against food scarcity in the face of climate change, natural disasters, economic downturns, and other threats.
In exploring the feasibility of massively scaling up home gardens, Fisher looks back to the days of victory gardens during World War II. These gardens were common in the United States, Canada, Australia, and Great Britain. At the time, countries needed extra efforts to feed citizens and the military. People used every available option to grow something. However, victory gardens largely disappeared after the war.
Fisher argues that home gardens on that wide-scale should return. They have a wide range of benefits, including better taste, increased sustainability, survival value, and personal growth. He brings more than 40 years of experience as a gardener, botanist, crop breeding researcher, and innovator in sustainability education to the daunting challenge of redesigning food systems from the ground up.
He proposes a new, three-tiered food system strongly anchored in home and community gardens, sustainably backed up by local and distantly sourced food. Most encouraging is his message that home gardens will help re-connect us to ourselves, one another, and nature in a way that all of us can creatively relate to on the most personal level: growing and consuming some to most of our food.
Elizabeth Sahtouris, Ph.D., evolution biologist and futurist, and the author of Gaia’s Dance, notes that “The subtitle of this book says it all: Home Gardens Outshine Industrial Food! As Big Ag and Big Food unite to bring us toxic food that wrecks our immune systems, this book shows us the only way back to health! The solution is actually right in our own hands, will mitigate climate change by reducing demand for industrial food, and can even bring us real joy!”
Just Grow It Yourself is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.