21st Century Jeffersonians strive to be as self-sufficient as possible, because it is only through self-sufficiency that we can be truly free. If we are dependent upon Big Government or Big Business for all of our basic needs, then we are not free citizens under any rational definition. Jefferson would look at the lack of self-sufficiency on the part of the average citizen as the one of the most profound challenges our society currently faces.
In Jefferson's time, more than nine out of ten Americans were self-sufficient farmers who relied only on themselves for their food. We live in a very different world today. Only 2% of Americans are farmers, and most of them work for giant multinational agribusiness corporations. The proportion of Americans who today produce even a small amount of their own food is probably a fraction of one percent.
Realistically, it is not possible or even desirable to go back to the state of things in Jefferson's time, with the vast majority of citizens growing all of their own food. But the number of backyard vegetable gardens has been increasing over the last few years, and people are beginning to realize that they can, in fact, produce a significant amount of the food they need. Theyneed not be utterly dependent on the corporate chain grocery store for every bite of their food.
During World War II, citizens were encouraged to plant "victory gardens" to supplement their food supply in the face of wartime rationing. These were small gardens planted in backyards or vacant lots, by individual families or small groups of citizens working together. Amazingly, upwards of 40% of the vegetables consumed in America during the war came from these gardens.
In the face of encroaching Big Government and ever-present Big Business, both of which sap American citizens of their self-sufficiency and therefore their freedom, we need to make a collective effort to restore a measure of independence in the production of our food. Every potato or tomato a citizen produces on his own makes him that much more free.
Starting a vegetable garden in your backyard, or a container garden on the porch of an apartment, is easy, enjoyable, and a fundamental way to increase your own self-sufficiency. Get started today.