Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The labor question

Doug and I were talking last week about the abundant bounty of produce in the garden, and regretting that some of it was going to waste because no one was picking it. The garden has come up against an age-old problem: How do you get enough labor to harvest?

It seems to me that in the past, people solved this by having family vegetable gardens and lots of children to help harvest. Even my 3-year-old has helped me on some occasions already. With industrial vegetable production, part of the solution has been machinery. However, with tender vegetables, not all labor can be mechanized away, and so we have migrant workers as well--agricultural workers who move from place to place following the harvest of various vegetable crops. (Thankfully, vegetables mature at different times. Imagine if everything ripened at the same time, from asparagus to winter squash!)

Our solution was to put a box and a sign to let people know that they could come and pick what they wanted, and leave a donation to support the Moultrie County Food Pantry. (I realize this post is almost too late to be of use in publicizing the availability of these vegetables; next year we'll be more organized.) Some people did pick and leave money, and still there are vegetables going to waste.

How can we make use of it all?

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