By: Philip Bashaw, Government Relations Manager, Arizona Farm Bureau Federation
Over the weekend my wife and I spent the better part of two days assembling watering systems, working soil and planting various herbs and vegetable seeds in two 4 ft x 4 ft garden boxes in our backyard. That was after I had spent the better part of two weekends ago planning and building the boxes, and the weekend after that staining them and installing them in our backyard. Our contribution to agriculture has so far taken several weeks, several hundred dollars and we still haven’t harvested our first crop. I believe we have two months before our fist vegetable is ready for harvest.
The Arizona Farm Bureau posted a quote on Facebook today “Three Acres and a Cow.” –Jesse Collings, on what is needed for self-sufficiency. As I read this quote I thought about my experience as a back yard farmer and the time, effort and investment three acres and a cow would require. Self-sufficiency ignores all rational application of comparative advantage. For the time, effort and expense of my backyard garden I could have purchased probably 100 times what my operation will produce not to mention used that time on other endeavors that would have a greater rate of return. All of this and I don’t have to worry where my next meal will come from.
I am fortunate that I am not dependent on my garden to feed my family (we would starve if I did). We will continue to attempt to supplement our diet with fresh vegetables from the backyard but I will leave the real farming to the professionals. The health and livelihood of my family depends on it.