Resilience for hard times

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I well remember a time as a teenager when money was scarce, and we ate nearly exclusively out of Mum and Dad's garden. I would take a couple of Grosse Lisse tomato's, a Crystal Apple cucumber or two, a cob of corn, a couple of pieces of home-made bread and a salt shaker to school for my lunch. Money was scarce, but food was not - it was right there in our garden! And funny looks from classmates at lunch time didn't deter my relish of the simple food!

Today we don't have to look too closely at current food production and distribution methods to see how vulnerable we can be when we don't grow at least some of our own food. The fresh food industry is a finely balanced and precarious behemoth where a hiccup in the weather via floods or drought, in electricity or diesel supply, in transport or refrigeration systems, in fertiliser or chemical supply, a contamination incident, the failure of a major business, or political strife as seen this week in Qatar, would be a real threat to supply to the retailers that most Australians rely on.

Home gardening and small scale market farming should be seen as a national security issue. Interruption of the supply chain would have serious national implications - not just to your family and mine, but to hospitals, nursing homes, and other vital institutions. The day is coming when the agrochemical complex will fail us, and then we (and our friends and communities!) will be so thankful we have invested in our home gardens, and in ourselves as gardeners!

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