LETTER- As economy worsens, we may grow our own

The February 12 cover story

Lisa Provence's February 12 article, "Surviving the Depression: True tales of the 1930s,"was a well-presented retrospective of those difficult times and gave me pause for thought.

Many people who survived that period produced much of their own food. A large percentage of the population at that time lived on farms and worked them for a living. Even people in the Charlottesville suburbs had enough land to put in a small garden and perhaps even raise chickens.

My uncle and aunt did that in the '30s, '40s, and '50s, as did a few of our neighbors in Fry's Spring and some of our relatives in Belmont.

Since the thirties, the population of this country has shifted from rural areas into the cities. Very few city dwellers have the space to grow food or raise chickens, even if city ordinances allowed it. My parents and grand parents were used to gardening and preserving food as part of their daily lives. They also raised and slaughtered chickens, plucked their feathers and gathered their eggs. 

Most people today don't know how to do these things. However, the basics are fairly simple; anyone can learn them and improve efficiency with gained experience.

If the next few years develop into a major recession, as I believe they will, we need to think creatively about how to put people who have lost their jobs to work growing their own food. One possibility would be for people without jobs to form cooperatives to lease nearby farmland, on which they could work to produce their own food.

It would be a lot better than sitting at home, worrying, and waiting for the next small government check to come in.


All of the interviews were interesting, but I especially enjoyed the one with Dr. Ernest Mead, who taught the Music Appreciation class which I took at UVA around 1955. He also played the carillon at the Chapel, and I remember him saying that to play it, you couldn't pay attention to the music it was producing, because there was a delay in the mechanism that would confuse you. He is a fine gentleman and was loved by his students.

David Miller
Stoney Creek