I am sure it is still Friday somewhere – my apologies for the lateness of this post – it is Saturday morning here.
How do we feed ourselves? Food prices keep increasing, labelling laws are ambiguous, processed foods contain unfamiliar additives and food allergies appear to be on the rise. Add to this, a desire to eat organically-grown food which I believe is better for my health and the health of the planet and it starts to feel a bit overwhelming. While we are at it, the wasteful packaging needs to be minimised as well as transport costs, both monetary and environmental. Don’t forget ‘food security’ – the latest catch-cry. This is the ability for us, as a nation, to feed ourselves in the event of natural disasters or major changes to the world order.
Have you thrown up your hands in despair? Fear not. You can begin to solve all of these issues with a single action – grow some of your own food.
The Duke and I have a somewhat neglected but productive garden which sometimes surprises us with its bounty. We both work full-time and have minimal time to spend on tending a garden. We try to grow some annual vegetables but the real secret is in growing trees and perennials. We have an avocado, peach, fig and several citrus trees. There are blueberry bushes as well as self sown cherry tomatoes and pumpkins. The clump of parsley has been in one spot for so long that it has a stalk that looks like the trunk of a tree.
It may seem obvious but it is also important to eat (or preserve) what you grow. Do not let the harvest go to waste.
Keep your eyes open for food producing plants in your neighbourhood that are not being harvested. Don’t be afraid to ask if you may have some. There are many reasons that people do not harvest – lack of time, knowledge or health are but a few.
The last few weeks we have had access to the following (either fresh or frozen) from our own property or nearby – corn, blueberries, avocadoes, mangoes, figs, lemons, beans, pumpkins, and pineapples. At times I have felt overwhelmed by the excess on the kitchen bench but I have endeavoured to make sure it was used or stored for later use.
Last weekend I kept track of what we ate.
Breakfast – buckwheat blueberry pancakes
Lunch – platter of cheese, cherry tomatoes, avocado, dried figs and mango chutney
Dinner – Salmon with mango salsa and vegetables – everything came from the garden except the salmon and onion which I used in the salsa.
Breakfast – mango and pineapple smoothie
Dinner – grilled chicken with cherry tomatoes and mango/avocado salad
We certainly will never be completely self-sufficient but being able to produce at least some of the food that we eat goes a long way to addressing the myriad of issues that I identified in the first paragraph. Eating local food also gives you an appreciation for what is in season in your area. I really look forward to the new crop of things such as figs which have a short season. We eat them constantly while in season then it is but a distant memory until next year.
You do not need a huge amount of space and even though you could not grow some of the thing that we do in your climate, the reverse is also true. What do you grow?