This week, editorial page readers responded to a question about the cities of Portland and South Portland creating ordinances to allow people to raise chickens in residential areas and whether Franklin Roosevelt’s programs or World War II ended the Depression. Look for ClickBack questions in Monday’s editorial, and go to bangordailynews.com to participate.
Is it time to head back to the farm?
Though it may not appear to be cost effective to raise hens (or possibly other food animals), I think you miss some pertinent issues. The animals are not warehoused; you are not paying for transportation and using fuel (and incumbent greenhouse gases) that get your eggs to market; you know where your eggs come from and they will not have artificial hormones in them if you choose your feed carefully.
The connection to where one’s food comes from is even more important now with all the issues with food recalls and lack of controls over corporate farming. People should read the book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle,” by Barbara Kingsolver to acquire a deeper awareness of the effect of raising your own food, purchasing locally grown produce and understanding the food safety issues of our time. And if you raise your own eggs, you can let your children lick the bowl once again!
Maybe chickens are going a little too far. Produce can be grown in amazingly tight quarters though, and everyone, including apartment dwellers, can grow their own food year round. You would save enough to pay for the lights and electric within a short time. It does take a little dedication, though. With a small plot and a little canning you could be eating your own vegetables and eating your own salad greens daily.
I can’t quite imagine chickens in the backyards and apartments of our largest city. Next thing you know the neighbors will be complaining about the clucking or the smell and that will be the end of it.
I ran a farm for eight years without hardly any knowledge at all about raising farm animals or vegetables. I was self taught by what I read and getting advice from neighbors. I so wish I had that way of life back right now! It was a secure way of life as I grew most of my own food. There was an article I read either in the BDN or a magazine about the concerns about food availability in the future.
So many farms and dairies have shut down over the past century as more people left that way of life to go work in factories and mills. Now we import most of our milk, eggs, meat and vegetables from other states and other countries. What would happen to our food supply if anything happened to disrupt its transport? According to the article, there would be major food shortages everywhere.
FDR — Depression hero or big spender without results?
The historical record is unambiguous. In his first three full years in office (1934-1936), Roosevelt saw unemployment drop by 8 percent and GDP rise by an average of almost 10 percent per year. He briefly listened to Henry Morgenthau Jr. about a balanced budget in 1937, and a second recession ensued. A return to deficit spending helped drop unemployment to 5 percent by 1942, well before the heaviest wartime deficit spending. A wise government runs a surplus in the good times that it can spend in the hard times.
The mantra that it was WWII that pulled us out of the Great Depression is Karl Rove thinking. If there had not been an FDR to support and aid all those unemployed and dispossessed, we might well have drifted into anarchy.