> J. Hasket wrote:
> "even with intesive production the amount of food that can be produced is
> small comapared with the full nutritional needs of a family" and..."I also
> don't see any significant unique psychological change as a result of growing
> one's own food. There are a lot of jerks who grow gardens."
> In both instances he is wrong.
> It is possible to produce a high percentage of a family's nutritional needs.
> (Jeavon's - How to Grow More Vegetables...; Hunt and Boertz - High Yield
> Gardening; Coleman - Four season Harvest)
> Secondly, apparently, not all of them grow gardens.
Of the three works mentioned above only Jeavon's book deals the issue of how
much of one's diet can be produced on a small garden. The other two books are
strictly how-to books that do not discuss this subject at all. Jaevon's book
deals with this mostly obliquely in comparisons of estimated energy and
water consumption between commercial agriculture and the
biodynamic/french intensive method. The only place I have been able to find
in which Jeavon's deals with this directly is on page 68 (Jeavons,J.
1991. How to Grow More Vegetables. Revised. Ten Speed Press. Berkely
California). The discussion is mainly speculative, describing as a goal the
production of two 26lb wheat harvests on a 100sq.ft. plot. Then *if*
this could be attained a 1-loaf per week supply of bread could be
produced. Actual likely yields mentioned are 4,8, and 12 lbs. yielding
(assuming *two* full harvests) 2, 4 and 6 months worth of
bread respectively. Again the more general question of how much of a
families' diet could be supplied from a backyard garden, for how much of
an investment of time and money, is left largely undealt with, although
various estimates such as $9-16/hr return on growing zuchinni and $5-20K
net return on 1/8-1/2acre are mentioned without any documentation as to
how this is estimated. In short, none of these sources address the question
Then we have the ad hominum attack on me. This too is oblique. In general
such attacks indicate a weak position, since they try to draw attention
away from the issue at hand and focus on the entirly distinct question of
whether or not *I* am a jerk.
This is certainly a fascinating subject, and one that I have spent much
time pondering. I believe that expert opinion is still divided, although
the weight of evidence (personal communication, sometimes at high volume)
seems to be favoring the Jonathan=Jerk proposition.
However, I digress.
The proposition of personal improvement through organic practice
has been advanced before, primarily in the context of organic farming.
I do not see any evidence for this. Some people who grow gardens
are fine folks with an appreciation for nature, others are sour
crabby meanspirited misanthrops. In general it has been my observation that
the jerk/fine-folk ratio is approximately the same for the population
of gardeners as for the rest of the population, and that fundamental
personaltiy changes for the better do not necessarily result from