Four years ago in April, Elder L. Tom Perry and his wife, Barbara, were hosted by my parents for several days during the weekend of their local stake conference. One evening as Elder Perry gazed out at the beautiful yard and mountain view from the home's east windows, he turned to my father and asked, "where are your tomatoes?" It was April at the time - too early for planting tomatoes. But my parents, over the years, had planted grass over the large garden plot where I used to weed and pull beans and eat warm raspberries as a child. The garden had been moved to the flower beds and had been gradually reduced until they had just a few raspberries and tomatoes each year.
You can be sure that my parents have planted tomatoes every year since Elder Perry asked that question.
Elder Perry practices what he preaches. He once said “There have been very few years in my life when I have not been responsible for a garden. Even now as a city condominium dweller, I still plant and harvest a garden each year. …" (New Era, October 1980)
During the April 1975 General Conference, President Spencer W. Kimball quoted a "much-read" magazine:
“Almost every backyard has what every person needs: a way to help cut inflation and ease the world food crisis in the process.
“It’s called ‘land.’ And there doesn’t have to be much of it to help a lot.
“It can be the play area that doesn’t get played on anymore, a sunny plot behind the garage, a 10-foot strip that runs across the back of the lot, or the adjoining lot that was bought to grow grass and play catch on.
“And all you need to make this space lower your food costs is to raise your own vegetables on it.
“It’s been calculated that a carefully managed garden just 15 x 20 feet in size can yield almost $300 worth of fresh food in six months. So the savings can be substantial.”Then President Kimball continued,
We are pleased that many people are planting gardens and fruit trees and are buying canning jars and lids. City officials here and many other individuals are planting patches of soil almost equal to the days of the “victory gardens” in World War II. We congratulate those families who are listening and doing.
Planting a garden today is just a relevant as it was in the 1970s. We similarly face challenges such as world food shortages and looming inflation. So, like Elder Perry asked my father, I'm asking you, "Where are your tomatoes?" And if you don't have an answer, today is the day to make plans to plant some!