What I Told President Obama
- It would dramatically reduce poverty. For a family of four, the federal poverty level is less than $22,000 per year. But I suggest to you that a family of four who has a large vegetable garden and four laying hens is much wealthier than a family of four without a garden.
- It would reduce health care costs by reducing obesity and other food-related illnesses like diabetes. It should be obvious that not only would the country be eating healthier, but we would be getting more exercise. (Tell the kids to put away the video games and get out in the backyard and pull some weeds.)
- It would reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Fossil fuels are used extensively in food systems, from production (including use of fertilizer) to distribution (transporting foods to market).
- It would be good for the environment. If the average person grew 5% of their food, that's 5% less plastic packaging that has to go into landfills (and the ocean sometimes, unfortunately).
- It would raise the spirits of the country. Anyone who is unemployed who grows his or her own vegetable garden has got to feel better about themself than someone who is unemployed and watching TV all day.
Okay. . .President Obama really didn't call me. I used a technique called "Provocative Operation" or PO to illustrate a lateral thinking technique for generating new and original ideas, essentially, proposing a "crazy" idea or making a random statement about a problem and seeing what solutions develop. No judgement about the idea or statement. Maybe someone should tell Congress about this "novel" technique.