Family Food Security: Get Your Garden Going

Amid the turbulence of transition, small actions have major cumulative effects. We stand at a precarious moment in terms of food security, both nationally and internationally. But it is also a moment of opportunity for engaged citizens to respond actively and intelligently.

The immense challenges that we face in the realms of economy, environment and food security are the sum total of countless everyday choices people make about what to buy and what to eat. Therefore, beginning at the level of individual households, we have the opportunity to transform our relationship to the land by becoming neighborhood agrarians.

By taking steps now to ensure family and neighborhood food security, our individual actions can have a collective impact that metamorphoses into public solutions.

While preparing to write The Call of the Land, I interviewed Steve Diver of Sustainable Growth Texas. He had many pertinent observations to make.

quarter-acre“With peak oil, an unstable economy, and climate change – people are wondering how to get by. I see a big part of the answer as self-sufficiency and sustainability…

“As an agricultural specialist now working with farmers and gardeners, teaching them about food production, I have learned. It takes time to get skills, tools, and improve soil.  Realistically, it takes about three years to get a new garden together.

“One thing I have developed over the last 10 years is an appreciation of the whole system of production around a ¼ acre garden. It turns out the dacha gardens in Russia are typically about a ¼ acre in size, and also the gardens under old serf system in Medieval times were that size.

“As it turns out, that’s a good size for a ‘country garden’ – about 104 feet long, by 104 feet wide. With a garden that size you can grow corn, okra, green beans, potatoes, beets, and more. that kind of garden requires a lot of work, but can feed a family of four or five people.

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