Every week I spend hundreds of dollars at the grocery store to buy foods I could grow at home! What made it normal for us in the United States and other countries as insane as we are to use our beautiful topsoil to grow a completely useless crop? As people starve around the world every day, I have a yard full of grass at home and I spend money at the store to pay people in Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and Ecuador to grow food for me! WTF? The problem is not somewhere else because it is in my own yard!
Once you see this, it's the most ridiculous thing in the world. If that is not enough, the most absurd thing is that at 33 years old I JUST REALIZED THIS in day 168 of Happier People Podcast! I hope this post acts as an inspiration for each of us including me to learn more about homesteading and gardening because Steem is full of beautiful posts on both of these topics which I have been frequently featuring in my upvotable posts!
Why do we grow grass instead of food?
Now, take a look at my yard.
Look at this.
This is valuable topsoil right here. This is soil that could grow hundreds, if not thousands of dollars of fruit and vegetables right here.
Now, look what I'm doing with it.
Why am I doing this with it?
Now, just think about this for a second outside of our specific situation here.
We've got all this grass, right?
At the same time, I eat several pounds of fruit and vegetables every day. That's apparently one of the very healthiest things to eat.
What do I do?
I literally am paying someone to cut all this grass and it doesn't look pretty, just because I'm used to seeing it and I'm used to calling it pretty in my mind.
It doesn't look pretty. It's useless.
Look at this tree right here.
This is a beautiful tree in my front yard, but it produces things that fall on the ground and require cleaning up.
Just look at this for a minute. I'm paying someone to cut the grass and manage something I don't eat and that doesn't have beauty to me because it's useless.
I'm wasting a really valuable resource and we're doing this on a massive scale. The number one crop we grow in the US is grass. If you add up all of everyone's yards, all the grass along the interstate, all the grass along all the buildings, all the grass along all the houses and apartments, our number one crop is grass.
Not only it is ridiculous just because we're wasting all this topsoil, but then we're going in irrigating all these places that might not need to be farmed if we were actually using the land right next to our houses.
We are paying people to farm often distant places for us, and then we're paying people to cut our grass. Then, we're paying for fertilizers, we're paying for things to treat our grass, we're redding our grass, we're spending all of this time on something that's useless.
Now, you might hear people say, "Money doesn't grow on trees."
A. That's a lie. Money's made out of paper. It does grow on trees.
B. Look, I eat apples, I eat strawberries, I eat grapes and I eat peaches. Why the hell is this tree in my yard, when what I need is a tree for peaches?
What I need is a tree that drops apples. What I'd like to have is a tree that drops oranges.
Why the hell do I have a tree in my yard that drops leaves, that I pay someone to clean up, and then the person who cleans them up complains about them?
Do you see what I'm getting at?
This is absurd.
You want to know how absurd it is?
We're doing this all over the country. This is what people all over the whole country and in fact, you would probably be right to say that all over the world, not in every certain place, but lots of other countries are just like this.
Now yes, it's beautiful landscaping. Sure, you could say it's beautiful landscaping, but I'll tell you what really would make this beautiful.
I have a pineapple every day in my smoothie. What really would make this beautiful are pineapples.
350 pineapples, that's what would make this beautiful.
I've got a pretty big yard here and I could literally put pineapples in pots. I have room to put hundreds of pineapples. They don't need a whole lot of work.
I have room for hundreds of pineapples in my yard. You know what would be beautiful about that?
Those pineapples cost $2, $3 or $4 each. Not only that, but the pineapples I buy are coming from Costa Rica. That means someone in Costa Rica is growing a pineapple, doing all the work to get that pineapple sent, shipped all the way from Costa Rica to Florida where I live.
Why am I paying someone to do what I could do in my front yard?
You might say, "Jerry, it'd be a lot of work to just do farm all these pineapples."
I could pay someone to help me.
In fact, I could probably pay the same I'm paying for my grass. I could pay the same $100 or whatever something a month. I could pay for that same help and instead of having useless grass in my yard, I would be saving $3 a day.
Yes, the pineapples take a year to grow, but just over the long term, I'd be saving $3 a day. That's a $100 a month or so I would be saving by having a pineapple literally growing for free in my yard.
Not just that, I could switch this tree out. I realize the tree might not go overnight, but plant a few trees and give it a few years and I'd have all kinds of fruit just falling down. The fruit would literally fall into my yard. I could go pick the fruit up, and eat it.
Now, that is really cool.
You know how much my grocery bill is at Publix every day?
My grocery bill is $100 plus in fruit and vegetables every four days. That's $25 a day and about $700 a month I'm spending on fruits and vegetables.
Now, I bet I could save at least half of that and pay someone maybe twice as much as I do to cut my grass and I could literally grow that in my front yard.
Because I live in Florida, I can grow stuff year-round here. It might be a little too hot in the summer. Yes, I might have to research how to plant things, but you see, I could literally save several hundred dollars a month in the exact same place I have my grass.
Now, how many of us are going around complaining about not having enough money?
Here's an opportunity.
Plant the fruit you want to eat in your yard and grow it.
Instead, what are we doing?
I know people that spend just like me, or like my in-laws, hundreds of dollars a month. They spend a whole bunch of time and energy cutting all these things in their yard that don't produce anything.
Meanwhile, they're going to work, doing jobs that often they'd rather be doing something else.
Put all this together for a minute. Just add all this up.
Going to work, doing jobs that are boring, that we don't have passion about. Meanwhile, we're paying someone else to grow our food.
We're paying someone else to do a job that is boring for them, that they're not passionate about like picking and managing pineapples for me in Costa Rica every day.
I think it'd be a lot of fun and I think I'm going to end up getting into gardening because it's so practical.
Now, here's the problem, though, there's always some limitation. I don't own this house, so I can't just do all I want.
I don't know if it'd be a good idea to just go ahead and put 500 pots of pineapple all over the front yard or go into the backyard here and just drop hundreds of pots of pineapple in there.
I could research and find the exact perfect crop to grow. I could figure out exactly what would grow best in Florida and how to take care of it.
Then, another thing is that we rent these houses or apartments where we can't even do anything with them.
The owners of my mom's house live off in another state. The owners of my house live in a different part of the state. We have these owners who don't even live here who are telling us what we can do, and if that's not bad enough, then we have homeowner's associations that tell us that we have to have our grass cut.
Then, we have homeowner's associations that we have to pay in order to live in that neighborhood or they can file a lawsuit or put a lien on the house. I would not live somewhere with a homeowner's association like that because that's insane.
We live in these places then, where people tell us what we can do with the land, and if you live where there is a homeowner's association, you actually own a house, but some other group of people tells what you can do with it. You have to have your grass cut a certain way.
Now, how insane is that?
You own the house and you're forced to grow a crop that doesn't produce anything for you. You're forced to pay money to maintain that crop, which you get by going to a job you don't like and that you complain about every day. Then, you go to the store and complain about your grocery bill, when really you could stop going to the job you don't like at least a lot of hours.
You could spend your time at home growing your own crops and getting joy out of making food that you are actually going to eat.
My mother-in-law grows in her backyard and I've enjoyed eating the kale she's growing for me, the peppers and the paprika. I've enjoyed eating what's she's grown for me. It means something that my mother-in-law grew this for me and that's cool.
Why do we grow grass?
Why do we plant trees that don't drop fruit?
This is crazy.
This whole thing is absurd.
I'm grateful that someone mentioned this to me and I just latched onto it. I'm grateful to be able to see out of the matrix today, that every house must have grass and must have trees.
I'm grateful to see in more practical terms. We think that something like this is luxury. We look around and say, "This is luxury."
"Look, I have so much wealth, that I can literally grow a crop that's useless, pay someone to maintain it, and then have some other poor guy in some other part of the world who then does my farming for me and ships it thousands miles to get to my house."
"That's how rich I am."
"I can waste the most valuable resources all around me and waste more time getting them cut, and then make someone do work for me in another part of the world."
"That's how rich I am."
That's why we really grow grass.
If I had to put an answer on it, that's why we really grow grass.
"Look how rich I am! I don't need to farm."
The same people who've got grass in their yards are also complaining about their jobs, complaining about not having enough money and they are wasting it, just as I'm wasting it.
But see, the trick is to notice this first because once you see this, there's no going back. When I walk around and see all these yards in my neighborhood, I see that there are beautiful lawns that people have worked hard on, but you know what?
I also see a horrible waste.
I see unnecessary extravagance.
I see an atrocity, wasting this topsoil on grass, planting trees that don't drop fruit, paying people across the world to bring me things I could grow myself next door, paying people to cut something that doesn't produce.
I also see the atrocity behind this now.
A gigantic waste, that if even just a small percentage of us turned our grass into farmland and cut back on some of our other extravagant habits, like eating meat and animal products at every single meal or most meals, would allow everyone in the world almost effortlessly to eat.
We wouldn't have to have people starving to death. There are probably 10 or 20 people who've starved to death while I've been making this video. You might think that I'm completely isolated, but I think about these things. There are probably 10 or 20 people who've taken their own lives while I'm making this video.
Our world is so insane that one of the most reasonable things to do is rebel. You can make a gentle rebellion like stop paying your homeowner's association fee or let your grass grow.
I let my grass grow out, it gets long and I don't care. I'm the yard that people look around in my neighborhood and say, "God, that guy's yard looks like crap."
I'm the threshold that helps everyone else feel better about their yard, that they've spent so much time and energy on, or money on, to make it look better than mine, even though our yards equally produce nothing. You might argue that I'm coming out farther ahead because I put less energy and spend less money on maintaining my useless yard.
"Well, Jerry, your daughter could play on the grass."
She could play in a pineapple or an orange grove, just as well. Even at two years old, she could go pick up all those oranges or apples falling off a tree. She could do some really useful work, instead of just playing around in there with plastic toys. She wants to do something useful.
I think it's important that we look at these things and see the world that we're really making, and the world we could make because most of our problems inside, our pain that we feel is a reflection of what we're doing and ignoring.
We're doing gigantic, hugely wasteful, cruel things, but we're not doing them directly in front of us. We're often doing them by the choices we make in what we buy, the things we make and the decisions we make to buy things at the store, the decisions we make to buy a house in a neighborhood with a homeowner's association that requires you to grow your grass.
These decisions we're making are creating the pain and suffering in our lives. If we see them, then we have a chance to overcome them.
I hope this is useful for you today because there's no going back once you've unplugged and realized, "Oh my god, this is ridiculous. Forget global warming, I'm wasting the environment right now."
I love you.
Thank you very much for experiencing this episode of Happier People Podcast with me, which was originally filmed as the video below!
The feedback on the video was so positive that I spent about $100 to get this post created for you here out of the video, and then edited it prior to publishing! I appreciate you being here and I hope you have a wonderful day today.
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Jerry Banfield with edits by @gmichelbkk on the transcript by GoTranscript
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