Can't take the heat? No, not the kitchen heat but the intense heat our society is generating from the stresses and horrors of our continuing economic decline and the fury directed at Wall Street, politicians, the stimulus bill and everyone and anything else possible. From rural towns dotting our nation's landscape to corner coffee shops in our cities, the economic meltdown and resulting inferno are evident everywhere. People who used to smugly discuss their multiple homes are now racing to plant "for sale" signs in their lawns.
And, many more people are now being forced to cut back on staple expenses such as food. It's distressing that millions of Americans will be food insecure (meaning they do not have secure food access), there are measures that people can take to ensure they have better access to food during these serious times (though we obviously need fundamental system changes to address the root causes of our financial crisis and its results). Stop getting steamed and grow some food to steam!
1. Tear up your front lawn and plant a garden. If it seems to radical to tear up your entire front lawn (and this might not go over well with those of you who have strict neighborhood associations), I suggest planting a section in the back, side or flower boxes. In the long-term, it will be a lot cheaper than shopping at the supermarket. And, you can share your harvest with your community.
2. Pick produce in public areas. Did you know that the branches of your neighbor's lemon tree that gracefully bow over the public sidewalk is actually public property? How about the fruit trees in the medians of public streets? Those are for you too.
3. Join a community garden. It's an easy way to grow your own produce, meet fellow gardeners and support the greening of our cities.
4. Become a guerrilla! No, not against the government but a guerrilla gardener who plants in public areas in your hometown (such as traffic medians, under trees, etc).
5. Grow herbs indoors. As long as you get some decent sunshine at a window, you can easily grow some herbs.
6. Join with friends to participate in a CSA. (Community Supported Agriculture). You will receive a weekly box of beautiful, fresh produce from a nearby farm and also have the opportunity to work on the farm.
7. Yes, we can, can! Can your own foods rather than buying pre-made ones at the store. You can can, pickle, jam and freeze virtually anything with fresh produce. I've been enjoying delicious summer sweet corn during Los Angeles' long, dark winter days.
8. Adopt an egg-laying hen! It's not a rooster, so it won't wake you or the neighbors up before dawn, but it will provide you with plenty of nutritious eggs.
These tips won't save Detroit, Wall Street or stop millions of foreclosures. But, hopefully it will help to ensure that a few more people have daily healthy foods on their plates. This crisis requires all of our efforts to ensure that no one goes hungry. If you are fortunate enough to be food secure, please also consider supporting your local food bank.
Sarah's Social Action Snapshot originally appeared on Takepart.com