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IPFS News Link • Agriculture

Savor the Taste of Independence, Grow Your Own!

•, By George F. Smith

The traditional extra benefits keep bringing many of us back season after season. If you're a gardener, you know the great feeling of acting directly on nature to produce the food you eat. Raising tomatoes gets you outside and sweating, and usually provides a sense of accomplishment. It encourages discipline and planning, and demands a bit of knowledge and a ton of patience.

And when you finally harvest those juicy edibles and carry them into your home — without once leaving your property — you can almost hear the fife and drums. You're gripped by a feeling virtually unknown in today's world: independence. This is what our ancestors fought for!

Any extras you have you can give away with pride. If the haul is sufficiently large, you might even can some for off-season. Gardeners everywhere have done this for ages.

Recently, though, I've taken pleasure in what gardening doesn't involve.

What it doesn't involve is the government, at least not in the meddling, bleeding sense. The tomatoes I grow are as valuable to me as money if not more so, since it is so hard to find good ones. Yet I have no intention of reporting them as "income."

I take great satisfaction in not needing a license or any kind of certification to create a garden. I don't have to join a union or seek some bureaucrat's zoning approval to devote part of my land to raising vegetables. I don't have to devise, then get blessed, any sort of warning label for my tomatoes. If I get sick when I eat them, tough. If the wage I pay myself is the market value of the tomatoes themselves, then I stand guilty of running a sweatshop. Even the most bountiful harvest doesn't translate into a living wage.

If bugs are attacking my Better Boys, I can kill the pests without having the government jail me for murdering insects.

Most years I have by far more tomato plants than any of my neighbors, yet I live without fear of prosecution for my monopolistic tactics. They are free to grow more or grow none, as they wish, and I am free to harvest as many of the red devils as I can, or let them all rot on the vine.