City Farm

 

    I want this post to bring nostalgia to old timers, and to serve as a primer for young people. The current recession is not letting up. There are signs of economic recovery, but the news from Europe is not very good. The result may be another recession even deeper than the one we have now. The story below is from my childhood. My parents lived through the Great Depression. They knew how to survive. I was born at the end of the depression. My parents lived as though tomorrow would bring another depression. It took seventy-one years to happen, but it has finally arrived. We are on the edge of another Great Depression.

     We lived in a small two-story frame house situated on a 25 ft. wide lot in Chicago.  The house had a porch with steps leading to the city sidewalk.  Between the porch and the side walk there was room for a strip of flowers and a patch of grass.  The parkway had grass and occasionally a tree

     The space between our house and the neighbor’s was a gangway just wide enough to walk through. The back yard is what I want to describe in detail because it saved my family from starving. Immediately behind the house, dad had a postage stamp size lawn bordered on two sides by a flowerbed.  The third side was the sidewalk leading back to the alley; and the fourth side was the house. 

            At the end of the lot, dad built a one-car garage built directly on the ground.  He added a chicken coop to the side with a fenced open space for the birds.

            The plot of ground in between the garage-chicken-coop complex and the flowers along the edge of the lawn was mom’s veggie garden.  The lot was 120 feet long.  In that precious space, mom and dad managed to have a front lawn and flowerbed, a three-bedroom house, a back lawn and flowerbed, a vegetable garden, a chicken ranch and a garage.

            Mom had most of what she needed to feed the family growing right in the backyard.   She planted tomatoes, onions, kohlrabi, cabbage, corn, carrots, parsley, beans, peas, lettuce, radishes, cucumbers, zucchini and more.  What we could not use immediately, she preserved by canning (no freezers).  The chickens provided us with eggs and meat for Sunday dinners. When we did not have chickens, she switched to raising pigeons, and even rabbits.

    When mom could not grow enough in our backyard, she found an empty lot a block away and started another garden.

     Are you ready to begin farming the backyard to feed your family, or are you going to line up to get food stamps?

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