Spare Time

So I was trying to put together an article urging people to consider growing food in their spare time, when something stuck me.

“Spare time”–what does that mean?

It seems sensible to think of “spare time” as the time we have left after we’ve finished completion of all tasks necessary for our survival. And what is more necessary for survival than eating?

Of course most of us trade our labor for money, which in turn we trade for food.  We wouldn’t consider the time we spend working at our wage-paying jobs as “spare time.” So why should producing our own food (and thereby cutting out a multitude of middlemen) be something relegated to our “spare time”?

So I’ve decided not to advocate gardening in our “spare time.”

Spare time is the time we spend watching TV or on Facebook.

Time spent producing food is not “spare time.”

17 comments on “Spare Time

  1. I like your take on spare time. We encourage everyone to grow their own food, and just built some raised garden beds for my mom in her yard so she can start growing some food. Everyone should have a garden in my opinion!


    • Bill says:

      I’m in full agreement. I think everyone should try to grow at least some of their own food, even if it’s just a tomato plant on the back porch or some herbs in a window sill.


  2. How very insightful and true!!


    • Bill says:

      It just dawned on me as I was thinking about how to encourage people to use their spare time better. Gradually over the last 100 years (probably the last 75) our society has come to see food production as something for which we are entirely dependent upon others. Maybe we’ll tinker in the garden in our “spare time.”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. nebraskadave says:

    Bill, ha, I would contend that we should take some of our wasted time (TV, social media, gaming) and put it good use in gardening. I’ve said it before but the technology that was supposed to save us time and let us do more productive things that would enrich our lives more have become addictions and in some cases have made our lives worse. I too think that everyone should grow some thing. It teaches patience in a fast moving instant world. The time it takes to grow plants hasn’t changed since time began. Even through mankind has tried to improve on nature with hybrid plants and genetically modified seeds, it still takes that spark of life in the seed to grow a plant. No scientist has ever found a way to create life in the seed.

    I’m about two weeks away from planting warm weather plants outside. Terra Nova Gardens is as ready as it will be for planting. The beds have been tilled to kill weeds three times and will most likely be tilled again before planting. Mulch will be added to help keep the weeds at bay once the plants are in the ground. It’s been a good Spring so far here in Nebraska. I hope that yours is going well. May all your market vegetables be abundantly productive this year.

    Have a great spare time day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      Your comment about technology brings to mind something I heard recently. Back in the 50’s and 60’s new kitchen and homemaking technologies were described as “labor saving” and there were ads saying that they would free women’s time so they could play more bridge, read books, etc. But their actual effect was to contribute to the virtual elimination of homemaking as a vocation, as women entered into the work force taking full time jobs (while still carrying most of the homemaking burden, now done with “labor saving” devices in their “spare time.”). While there have been great benefits from opening up opportunities for women and no longer limiting them to being homemakers only, in the end those labor saving devices didn’t create more leisure time. Over time, they caused a reduction in leisure time as the space was filled with wage-paying jobs.

      We’re ready to start summer planting as soon as the ground dries out. Looking forward to it.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Farmgirl says:

    Here! Here! I keep saying this. Could not agree more!


  5. Zambian Lady says:

    Your post is on point. I believe that people would also eat more healthily if they grew their own food. I have wanted to do a bit of gardening for the past two years, but it has been impossible without a place to do so. I had a big garden and a small farm back home, but I did not utilize the land.


  6. avwalters says:

    Spare time is like spare change. How would I know what is spare? I’m not dead yet.


  7. ain't for city gals says:

    I totally agree with this. In fact I think all of our wording needs to change….as in fast food and processed food….it is NOT FOOD. If anyone says that to me anymore I say “well, it is not food…it is chemicals”…Our food should take up the majority of our time…all the other stuff should be done in our spare time.


    • Bill says:

      I’m with you. I spent all of today shooting videos that correspond to the chapters in my book coming out later this year. I made that point often. Look at the ingredients in processed food. Most are chemicals that no normal human being can recognize and certainly no normal person would consider them food. If it can only be produced in a laboratory or a factory (as opposed to a kitchen) then it doesn’t deserve to be called “food.”


  8. EllaDee says:

    I feel similarly about cooking meals. I would have more ‘spare time’ if we ate convenience food rather than home cooked meals. Because it’s important to me, I prioritise and carve out time to shop & cook. I’ll do the same when I have a garden. By doing this I accomplish a whole raft of health & wellbeing, ethical, environmental, financial benefits that I wouldn’t if I did nothing tangible with that time.


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