Smart fellow

As Greece spirals into the pit, not every Greek is caught up in protesting in the streets.  Some of them have figured out that no matter what happens, no matter which side “wins”, they’re on their own.

Ilias Mathes has protection against bank closures, capital controls and the slashing of his pension: 10 goats, some hens and a vegetable patch.

If Greece’s financial crisis deepens, as many believe it must, he can feed his children and grandchildren with the bounty of the land in this proud village high in the mountains of the Arcadia Peloponnese.

“I have my lettuce, my onions, I have my hens, my birds, I will manage,” he said, even though he can no longer access his full pension payment because of government controls imposed six days ago. “We will manage for a period of time, I don’t know, two months, maybe three months, because I also want to give to our relatives. If they are suffering, I cannot leave them like this, isn’t that so?

Reminds me that that stand of trees behind my house needs to be turned into lumber sooner rather than latter so that land can be turned into garden space.  Even a half acre, intensively managed, can produce an amazing amount of food.  There are a number of methods out there, such as square foot gardening, that can turn small spaces into food factories.

I can remember the stories from my Dad’s family.  He grew up in West Virginia during the Great Depression.  The first generation of his family to have been born in a town rather than on a farm, the urge to raise their own food was still strong with his parents, and fortunately so.  They raised vegetables in the backyard, a space roughly 50′ square.  They also had access to two other empty lots on the next street over, which would have totaled up to a space 100 x 100.  On that space, they not only raised vegetables, but some chickens and pigs as well.  Even though my Grandfather worked, this is what fed the family for the most part (they did have to buy things like salt and flour), and there was enough surplus that they had plenty for family who didn’t have gardens.

Let me say that again.  On 12,500 square feet (that’s a piece of land about 112′ square, a bit over half an acre), they raised enough vegetables, chicken and pork to feed a family of 4 plus enough to help out others.

Got a backyard that’s just something you mow?  You might want to reconsider that.

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