Posted by: jackslife | February 24, 2009

Feeding ourselves

Over the last few months I have become more and more interested in the concepts of self-sustainability.  This can take on a number of different forms and has a number of different reasons.  One of the primary interests that I have developed is the subject of food production and security.

At present my family is entirely subject to food purchased elsewhere and purchased for the short term.  Since my wife and I live in an apartment, we have felt somewhat shackled when it comes to many options for improving this situation.  Recently we have been more proactive in trying to find solutions for this.

Although we don’t have room for a garden at our apartment, we did find that we had an opportunity to work on a community garden project.  We will be working an 8′ x 16′ plot with another individual, which should be enough to allow my wife and I to start making a dent in the amount of produce that we will have to purchase at the grocery store.  This is an option that can work quite well for apartment dwellers looking to grow their own produce.  Even if you have difficulty locating a community garden to be a part of, there are baby steps that you can take to start making in your small space.  Some suggestions can be found in various posts on Sharon Astyk’s blog, and here, or just Google “growing food in an apartment” and you will find a host of others.  You certainly won’t be able to grow a huge garden, but there are a number of options to start your journey anyway.

Another limitation in an apartment is food storage.  A while back I read a post on Brian Kaller’s Restoring Mayberry blog about emergency food storage.  It seems that most people have decided that this is something that only crazy, gun totin’, cult members do.  In fact, having a supply of reserve food has always been a part of responsible living.  I know my grandparents have always had the root cellar that had canned goods and other reserves.  That being said, I have not yet worked out a way that my wife and I can do very much of this.  Apartment living certainly doesn’t lend itself to the kind of storage space required for this kind of endeavor.  We will need to work on some food preservation once we start harvesting from our garden, however, so I guess we will have to find a way.

I see a really interesting parallel between our country and our lives as individuals in this area.  The public at large has largely relegated the task of providing our sustenance to other people.  So too has the US begun to look to other countries to produce our food, thereby freeing the American people of the “drudgery” of the food production process.  This seems like an unwise path for both individuals and country.  We have no way of knowing what events may arise that will diminish our ability to depend on these outside sources, and when it comes to something as essential as our food that seems like too great a risk to take.

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