If you live in the suburbs, plant every square inch of your yard. Grow things vertically. Use square foot gardening methods. Make lovely beds of vegetables in the front yard. Extend your growing seasons by using greenhouses and coldframes. This way you can grow more than one crop per year in a limited amount of space. Use raised bed gardening techniques like lasagna gardening to create rich soil. If you have problems with your local government or HOA, go to the alternative media and plead your case in front of millions of readers. We’ve got your back!
If you live in the city or in an apartment, look into ways to adapt to your situation. Grow a container garden on a sunny balcony, and don’t forget hanging baskets. Grow herbs and lettuce in a bright window. Set up a hydroponics system in a spare room (but look out for the SWAT team – they like to come after indoor tomato growers!) Go even further and look into aquaponics. Create a little greenhouse with a grow light for year round veggies. Sprout seeds and legumes for a healthy addition to salads.
If you live in the country, go crazy. Don’t just plant a garden – plant fields! Grow vegetables and grains. Grow herbs, both culinary and medicinal. Learn to forage if you have forests nearby. Learn to use old-fashioned methods of composting, cover crops and natural amendments to create a thriving system.
Raise micro-livestock. This option may not work for everyone, but if you can, provide for some of your protein needs this way. Raise chickens, small goats, and rabbits, for meat, eggs and dairy. If you are not a vegetarian, this is one of the most humane and ethical ways to provide these things for your family. Be sure to care well for your animals and allow them freedom and natural food sources – this is far better than the horrible, nightmare-inducing lives that they live on factory farms.
Save your seeds. Learn the art of saving seeds from one season to the next. Different seeds have different harvesting and storage requirements.
Go organic. Learn to use natural soil enhancers and non-toxic methods of getting rid of pests. Plan it so that your garden is inviting to natural pollinators like bees and butterflies. If you wouldn’t apply poison to your food while cooking it, don’t apply it to your food while growing it.
Be prepared for backlash. The day may come when you face some issues from your municipal government. Be prepared for this by understanding your local laws and doing your best to work within that framework. If you cannot work within the framework, know what your rights are and refuse to be bullied. Call up on those in the alternative media who will sound the alarm. Every single garden that comes under siege is worth defending.
Learn about permaculture. Instead of buying pretty flowering plants for your yard, landscape with fruit trees (espalliering is a technique that works will in small spaces), berry bushes, and nut trees. These can provide long-term food sources for your family.
For the things you can’t grow yourself, buy local. Especially if space is limited, you may not be able to grow every bite you eat by yourself. For everything else, buy local! Buy shares in a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Visit your farmer’s market. Shop at roadside stands. Join a farming co-op. Support the agriculture in your region to help keep local farms in business. (One note about farmer’s markets: Some farmers markets allow people to sell produce that originates at the same wholesalers from which the grocery stores buy their produce. I always try to develop a relationship with the farmers from whom I buy, and I like to know that what I’m buying actually came from their fields and not a warehouse.) Find a local market or farm HERE.
Learn to preserve your food. Again, go back to the old ways and learn to save your harvest for the winter. Water bath canning, pressure canning, dehydrating, and root cellaring are all low-tech methods of feeding your family year round. Not only can you preserve your own harvest, but you can buy bushels of produce at the farmer’s market for a reduced price and preserve that too.