Growing staple foods for self-reliance 1


Self-reliance, self-sufficient, sustainable…

These are all words that describe a way of living that encourage taking care of yourself and your own family.  To not be dependent on grocery stores for our food.

And while true sustainability may not be entirely possible, working toward becoming more self-reliant is a GREAT goal.

I read a book called “Grow A Sustainable Diet” by Cindy Conner.  It is a fascinating book.  In it, she says this, “In order to GROW a sustainable diet, you must first learn to EAT a sustainable diet.”

How true that is.

You can’t go on eating potato chips, frozen dinners and fast food and learn to eat sustainably.  You must learn to eat foods that you could produce yourself.

But that doesn’t mean that it has to be hard.

In fact, some of the simplest foods require no preparation at all.  Such as raspberries straight from the raspberry patch.  Or peas straight off the vine.  Oh, and did I mention that they taste great too?!?

Every dollar of food that you grow yourself is one more dollar that you get to keep in your pocket.  One more dollar that does not go to a big mega corporation but instead stays in your local community.  And one more dollar that you don’t have to pay sales tax on.

Which brings me to another concept.

When most people start a garden, they generally start with what I like to call salad ingredients.  Some of the most popular things that home gardeners grow are lettuce, carrots, peas, peppers and of course tomatoes.

And while this is fantastic (I’m always happy when anyone grows any part of their food supply), it will not sustain you in an emergency.  There just aren’t enough calories in those types of foods.

So my encouragement to you is to consider learning to grow foods that most cultures would consider staple foods such as potatoes, dry beans, winter squash, possibly grains and/or raising small livestock – chickens for example.

You could also buy whole grains that store for a long time and learn how to cook with them.

These staple foods will go a LONG way in providing a sustainable diet for your family.

One of the simplest staple foods that you can grow in your garden is potatoes.  They grow easily in most areas of the country and produce a lot of calories for the space they take up.  They store well and are relatively easy to clean and cook (no threshing or grinding involved).  Plus they are delicious.

One way to move toward being self-reliant with your food supply is to take one ingredient and grow enough of it for an entire year.  Many vegetables are easy to do this with.  Especially since they take up so little garden space.  Some examples: Garlic, onions, carrots, cilantro, other herbs, lettuce/spinach.

Any movement we make toward producing our own staple foods will bring a level of peace into our souls.  Knowing that you have the skills and experience to grow food to feed your family is very satisfying.

Staple foods

Cindy Conner also mentions in her book that another good way to move toward a sustainable diet is to take one day a week (or more feasibly one day a month or even just one meal) and make it a homegrown day.  Meaning that everything you eat on that day is something that you produced yourself.

She said that when she first started doing this, she would save certain foods for that day of the week.  She said it was very instructive for what areas she needed to increase her self-reliance on.

I’d love to do this experiment as well.

How much food could you come up with for a meal that was grown on your own land?

Definitely something worth thinking about!

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