Please plant a vegetable garden now!

by Richard L. Thornton, Architect & City Planner

Do it for your family, your nation and mankind

Back in January 2020, I briefly mentioned at the end of an article in THE AMERICAS REVEALED, that I had this Creek Sixth Sense feeling that something bad was about to happen and it had to do with finances.  At the time, the stock market was booming and everything seemed “to be coming up with roses” in the USA.  I couldn’t have possibly conceived how quickly in March 2020 the economic situation in the world would spiral down into a mega-catastrophe. 

I planted this garden in 2011, while living in an abandoned chicken house near Track Rock Gap. It produced an amazing amount of food in a small area. The soil was saturated with chicken manure.

I’m not a politician, so I can tell you the truth. Millions of people will be laid off from their jobs and most in the initial wave of layoffs will be in the economic class, which has been living from paycheck to paycheck, since the Great Recession.  The level of personal debt is higher now than it was prior to the 2008 stock market crash, but this time the cause is not so much, greedy banksters, but a fundamental natural disaster. Baby boomers, who were enjoying a cushy retirement from their stock market-based retirement funds are seeing their wealth evaporate daily.  Meanwhile, at least around here, many people are living in a state of denial . . . somehow hoping that it is all a short-term blip that will quickly disappear. 

The Department of the Treasury has suggested sending out checks totally $500 billion on April 6. That works out to $1500 to every citizen of the United States. It sounds like a lot of money, but the checks won’t be going to everyone and many people have monthly rent payments and especially, mortgage payments, larger than $1500. What happens the next month? The epidemic is projected to last 18 months or longer. In the meantime, major sectors of the economy will be shattered. An analogy would be pumping high octane gasoline into vehicle in which spark plugs are missing from several pistons.

Entire sectors of the economy have been shut down to prevent spread of the pandemic.  The airlines have seen a 40% drop in passengers in two weeks and it is still dropping. Very soon they will be forced to lay off up to ½ of their employees. Hotels are almost empty in many cities while cruise ships are being moored at docks.  The companies that serve the restaurants, clubs and hotel industry are being forced to lay off their people.  Actors and musicians, who normally performed in plays and concerts suddenly have no work.

The next phase, within a few weeks, will be a collapse of the housing market and construction industry.  That will put many millions more into the jobless ranks.  We are looking at a jobless level, equal to or greater than the Great Depression.  On March 17, the White House admitted that the jobless rate could reach 20%.  It is far more likely that it will reach 30%. That’s 5% more than during the Great Depression. Even when Wall Street collapsed in 1929, those with money could still go out to a nice restaurant or take a cruise to Europe! 

The Bone Farm in the early 1900s.

There is one other principal difference between 2020 and 1929.  In 1929, the majority of Americans lived in small towns or on farms, where they already were accustomed to growing much of their food in vegetable gardens, small hen houses or pig pens.  Only two percent of the people in the United States live on farms and an astonishingly low percentage of those farmers grow a significant proportion of their own food . . . something in the range of 10%.  Most farms today are specialized factory type operations, which produce one or a few food products . . . such as poultry farms, cattle ranches and fruit orchards.

The production and distribution of food products are going to be disrupted by the pandemic at the same time that many millions of people will be struggling to have the money to pay for the food.   I have a feeling that everything will break down before those in control take sufficient actions.  They do not know what it is like to be hungry, penniless, evicted from their homes,  hounded by “law enforcement” because they are poor and treated contemptuously by politicians because they have no money to bribe the politicians.  I do.  Maybe God intended that to happen ten years ago, knowing that I would somehow survive and be a witness to those events.

This is the garden, which was featured on the premier of America Unearthed on Dec. 21, 2012, but filmed on July 8.

Mid-summer will be too late

Please!  Start today on plans and work projects to enable you or your family to produce at least some of your food.  It may be a section of fertile yard converted into a garden, vegetables grown in pots or maybe the small-scale production of animal protein.  Many suburban zoning ordinances now even allow people to keep a few chickens and rabbits in pens, so you could provide your family nutritious eggs, chickens and rabbit meat.  At the very least, you will be saving money on food.  However, there is something else to consider . . . every vegetable, fruit, egg or animal that you feed yourself, leaves food on the shelf for someone or some family, who are in a living situation where any food production is impossible.

I grew up working in my mother’s vegetable garden or at my grandparent’s garden in the country.  I was a professional farmer for 18 years . . . one year being named US Soil Conservation Service Farmer of the Year.  Since then, I have always maintained at least some vegetable production.  We Creek Indians are master farmers, who know how to “grow fertile soil” like our ancestors from Mexico and Peru.  Maybe, you are not at that point, yet. No experience at gardening?  There is an option.

Many vegetables can be grown in containers!

I recommend to novices that they first grow vegetables in large pot-like bags or raised beds.  The vegetable bags are available from Amazon.com, Walmart, Tractor Supply or local farm coops.  You fill these containers with pre-mixed, highly fertile topsoil that can be bought from many locations.  Follow directions for fertilization for specific vegetables. Instructions are available from your local agricultural extension office or online.  It is a win-win situation.  You will save money on your food bill and make food available for other people.

This photo was on the cover of Country Roads Magazine after the US SCS Award. We soon would be moving to the Shenandoah Valley.

And now the rest of the story

In the summer of 2001, many Creek medicine women in the Southeast had the same strange vision.  A tall, elderly Creek Indian man appeared in a tattered Confederate uniform.  He had a wooden leg.  He then would rise above a white mound and say, “Bone is my name.  You are master farmers, but you have abandoned the ways of our ancestors and don’t even grow food for yourselves.  A time is coming when evil men will rule this land, followed by a starving time.  You must get back to the ways of your ancestors and also teach your neighbors how to grow their own food. Don’t be greedy or mean-spirited.”  With some recipients of the vision, he also predicted the 9/11 terrorist attacks in a few weeks or say that it was important that they find the “black book.”  However, in all the visions, the final scene would be him climbing up a golden stairway into Heaven.

I never had that vision, but soon the Creek-Southeast internet message board was buzzing with women in Alabama, southern Georgia and northern Florida, who did receive the message.  They couldn’t figure out who “Bone” was.  There were no known Creek “Bone” families in the region.  Actually, all of the Bones had been members of the Tama Creek Tribe, but for unknown reasons, Chief Neal McCormick’s ex-wife, who was NOT a Creek, but a white woman from western North Carolina, had removed our names from the rolls and dumped the family genealogies in a garbage can during the late 1980s.   The irony was that we were Wind Clan and descended from several Creek leaders, who had signed treaties with Great Britain.

At any rate, I instantly recognized the physical description of “Bone” as being Grandpa Jack Bone, my g-g-grandfather. We’re Northeast Georgia Creeks. Grandpa Jack fought in Cobb’s Legion, Army of Northern Virginia with many other Georgia Creek lads.  One of his legs had been partially amputated after it was hit by artillery shrapnel in the Devil’s Den, Battle of Gettysburg. Despite this severe injury, he lived to the ripe old age of 102!

Grandpa Jack was an Eastern Creek mako (mikko in Muskogee-Creek) and at least one time posed for a photograph in his old Confederate uniform.  Those internet contacts became the beginning of the People of One Fire, which is now incorporated as the Coweta Creek Confederacy. 

The black book was a handwritten manuscript, describing Creek farming methods, that was found in a courthouse in Alabama.  Obviously, the first part of his prophecy came true, but the part about a starving time seemed implausible for 20 years.   As of this week, it now seems probable.

7 Comments

  1. Richard, you will be interested to know that our Creek wisdom-keeper in Alabama just sent me an urgent message to share with all about the hard days that are coming and the importance that everyone use all available space, even small space to make a garden! When two Creeks have spoken, then it behooves us all to sit up and listen!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well said Richard! A serious wake up call….. I always garden anyway on a small scale mostly for personal enjoyment (and homemade pasta sauce) but will focus more this year on things that keep well. My goal is to have enough for myself, my extended family and any excess to whoever might need it. Life as we have known it may well have changed forever. As it has for other people in other times and places throughout all written and especially oral history. Take care and lets all help each other as we are able.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your blog couldnt be more on point and happy to say that for the past 4 days have been involved with a major “mini-farm” project due to go even bigger. Its like Ben Franklin said, “If you’re not preparing to fail, you’re failing to prepare,” and we’ll be ahead with some great organic vegetables!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Richard, More Wise advise from you…Thank you. I’m going to get my bucket garden growing this week. It does not hurt to be prepared. Keep your elderly away from the “spring breakers”.

    Liked by 1 person

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