Before homegrown became organic, sustainable was sensible

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Homegrown, kitchen The Hot Mess Press

Our forefathers lived on homegrown food and looked after earth, only because it was sensible. Terms like global warming, green living, eco-friendly and sustainable were unknown to them. They provided and cared for their families as best they could.

There was no need to beg them to protect the ozone and limit the CO2 they let into the atmosphere. Most importantly, organic was not even a part of their vocabulary.

Homegrown, vegetables, people

They cultivated homegrown food

Grandparents, parents and grandchildren all participated in gardening and crop field activities. There were no how-to YouTube videos to help them, therefore, elders passed the required knowledge to the younger generations.

They learned to identify different plants, and knew how and when to sow, grow and harvest fruit, vegetables, corn, wheat and other crops. Not to mention that frozen pizzas, meat pies and TV dinners were far off in the future.

Mason Jars, homegrown preservation

They preserved homegrown foods

Their pantries were packed with bottled and preserved fruits and vegetables to feed their families through all four seasons. The women filled mason jars with produce, sealed and boiled them in large pots of water to preserve them for future months. Similarly, fruits that were not canned were dried, and large freezers were unnecessary. Without even knowing about free-range, free-roaming, or cage-free, each family had chickens, cattle, sheep and a few pigs roaming their properties to provide meat, eggs and milk.

Homegrown, Free range animals

Homegrown was preferred over eating out

Without knowledge of carbon footprints, our forefathers made home-cooked meals. They used seasonal products, along with preserved out-of-season fruit and veggies. They made their own corned beef, and processed meat had little chance of becoming favorites.

Using their own homegrown produce limited the environmental impact of crops’ transportation to manufacturing plants, distribution centers and stores. Our forefathers produced, processed and cooked everything right there. Eating out and buying take outs happened only on special occasions. Even when going on long trips, refreshments and provisions were packed to enjoy during rest stops. Oh, yes, there were still picnic tables along the way.

Homegrown Family dinner

Brown-bagged homegrown lunch packs

Remember, I mentioned no wasting? They used leftovers to pack the next day’s lunches for both children and adults. Unknowingly, they contributed to saving the planet by not wasting food, not buying take outs and, therefore, not throwing out disposable food containers that would land up in landfills.

Barrel, water storage

They collected rainwater

Each family had tanks for collecting rainwater, and they diverted storm water to their gardens and fields. They used natural products to make soap and other cleaning materials. They used the water to do their laundry. No indoor clothes driers for them, they hung the washing on clotheslines where the wind and sun took care drying it.

While we’re on the water subject, our forefathers drank water from the taps. They would not have imagined drinking bottled water like many people do today — feeding landfills as they go.


Social lives involved the entire family

Without televisions and PlayStations, families spent free time together. In pleasant weather, they ventured outside and often had picnics. Children spent almost all the daylight hours playing outside, and for them to be inside was like punishment.

In the evenings, families enjoyed playing cards, board games, reading and practicing hobbies. Moms and grannies would keep themselves busy with knitting and crochet needles to ensure the entire family was warm through the cold winter months.

They would not have known that the time of social distancing was somewhere in the future.

Granny, knitting

Other activities that are long forgotten

Each family had a home pharmacy packed with natural home remedies to treat just about any illness or pain. Furthermore, they wore homemade clothes and passed them on from older to younger family members. Moms and grannies mended holes and tears in clothes instead of throwing them out like we do today. Furthermore, they resoled shoes with worn soles and passed them down similar to outgrown clothes.

Public transportation

What about the city dwellers?

Those who lived in the cities unknowingly did their bit to save the planet by using public transport. They might have had vegetable gardens for their own use and a few chickens to provide eggs and meat. However, without space to keep cows, they would have bought milk in bottles and return the empty bottles to the dairies for re-use.

There are so many more ways in which our forefathers unwittingly lived sustainable lives, limited carbon footprints, and prevented global warming. Sadly, all their sensible living makes no difference to the damage done to the ozone layer, global warming, etc. caused by generations that came later.

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