Introduction to Food Self Sufficiency
By ame vanorio © 2017
***During 2017 I will be blogging a series called “Step by Step to a Self Sufficient Organic Garden”. This series features timely information to help you grow and harvest food for your family.***
Self-sufficiency is a term traditionally embraced by homesteaders and preppers but is rapidly expanding to include serious gardeners and urban farmers. Self-sufficiency unites independence with food security; bringing together a common goal of providing for our families. More and more city, suburban and rural people are striving to grow an abundance of produce, herbs and meats to meet goals of low cost healthy living and preparedness.
The term self-sufficiency came into vogue in the 1970’s back-to- the-land movement when pioneering greats like John Seymour, Alan Chadwick and the Nearing’s began writing and teaching. Of course, history tells us that food self-sufficiency did not begin as a counter culture movement but a necessity to people who lived before the advent of grocery stores.
My goal in life is not to go to the grocery store but to grow and produce my own food and trade or barter for what I do not grow myself. Not only is the food we grow superior in quality to that from the grocery store but it gives us a sense of independence and security. I am Italian, I like to eat, and I like to eat good food!
Food security is simply having access to food regardless from where it comes from. Food from your local grocery store comes from all over the world and depends on a variety of manufacturing, transportation, and economic supports to get it to you. This food is subject to short-term crisis such as a blizzard that shuts down roads or striking workers in the trucking industry that can cripple a stores access to food. Long-term crisis such as a cyber-attack on the electric grid system or a war in the Middle East could bring down our food security system. Food Self-sufficiency gives us food security.
Nurturing plants into production and developing nutrient rich soil takes time and resources. Gardening is much like math – it builds on what you have done before. The trick is to keep adding more things (slowly) so that you are growing more plants and more varieties.
It is much harder than going to a grocery store! But as John Seymour stated “It is going forward to a new and better sort of life”. I find that “better life” to be very emotionally satisfying as well as physically demanding. It takes courage and determination. You will leave behind dependency on systems you cannot control and that will be most satisfying.
Self-sufficiency can happen in any location; city lots, suburban yards and rural farms. European yards fascinate me. In Italy small city yards contain garden plots, family outdoor sitting areas and livestock pens; all working together. And since your neighbors have the same thing no one complains or makes silly laws that outlaw backyard chickens!
My approach is unabashedly organic. Organic gardening is healthier for you and your land. I also use heirloom varieties because I feel they have the best taste and varieties have developed to suit local climates. Heirloom varieties reproduce true to form and you can save seeds for future plantings thus giving you more independence. Modern hybrids are bred to ship, not to eat. Any store tomato will teach you that lesson. Furthermore, you cannot save the seeds from hybrids because the seeds are sterile. So that each year you must purchase more seeds and/or plants. Just another way that companies like Monsanto seek to control you.
It is important to concentrate on developing small areas that produce abundantly. I spent too many years being over extended and trying to do it all at once so that I had less food and was exhausted to boot! Small manageable areas are more productive, easier to manage and leave money in your pocketbook!
In future blogs we will discuss planning your garden for maximum output as well as discussing growing and harvesting techniques.
In a nutshell, “self- sufficiency is the epitome of doing it yourself in a low cost manner that helps you on your path to independence”- A. Vanorio 2013