Starting August 25th when Hurricane Harvey hit, followed by Irma on September 5th, Mexico’s major earthquake on September 7th, and Maria on September 16th; our nation has had little time to even breathe between disasters. Some, like my family, had a direct hit with one or more of these terrible events. When the Houston reservoirs had to release water into the Buffalo Bayou, my oldest son and wife lost their home. The helplessness we feel becomes more exaggerated by each disaster following the previous. This time to pray becomes my salvation.

Starting August 25th when Hurricane Harvey hit, followed by Irma on September 5th, Mexico’s major earthquake on September 7th, and Maria on September 16th; our nation has had little time to even breathe between disasters. Some, like my family, had a direct hit with one or more of these terrible events. When the Houston reservoirs had to release water into the Buffalo Bayou, my oldest son and wife lost their home. The helplessness we feel becomes more exaggerated by each disaster following the previous. This time to pray becomes my salvation.
Life goes on. After Harvey, I went to Prairie Day. I met with others going through the same feelings of helplessness. And I was able to lighten the mood with how food would have been preserved during the Civil War era. How lucky we are to simply go to the store to buy a can of green beans or turn on the faucet to get a glass of water.
Yet, these disasters are going to become more frequent as global warming changes our world’s climate. Even if you don’t think global warming is real, it’s obvious the world’s climate has changed. When I was a child, SW Missouri was listed as growing zone 5. Today, we are in zone 6 and moving to zone 7. Our winters are shorter with more ice storms. Our summers are earlier and frost comes later. The scales have tipped and we must change how we grow and consume food in our nation. We cannot feed others when we can’t feed ourselves as a nation.
If there has ever been a time in our recent history when everyone should try to grow some of their own food, this is that time. Growing a garden sustainably is one way to use the least amount of natural resources to feed oneself. My desire to teach others how to use these methods is my way of protecting the soil, water, and air for all the next generations to come.
August 28th, the day my son’s home went under water, I made a promise to myself to consume only what I have directly or indirectly raised on Nature’s Harvest Home. A time to work even harder is now upon me.
I don’t know how long I can stick to this, but it’s my way of helping. Rattlesnake beans, Swiss chard, carrots, turnips, beets, snap peas, tomatoes, peppers, garden huckleberries, corn, amaranth, nasturtiums, cucumbers, dry beans, potatoes, and homemade bread is the bulk of my diet. Wild edibles and herbs increases nutrition and flavor. Bread is made from dried squash, corn, chickpeas, amaranth seeds, and sorghum. Rice and cassava flour, salt, oil, and tea are still being purchased. Cheese and honey purchased earlier will be used sparingly.
For next year’s garden, I need to add in more ways to keep my soil fertile, add more predator/pollinator/beneficial strips, save more of my seeds, and most importantly, harvest all the produce I’m growing.
We can all do this to one degree or another. Now is the time to help.

Linda Simmons writes a column for the Neosho Daily News.