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Can You Survive Without a Grocery Store?

Jean Ann has an organic garden coaching business in the Portland, OR. She teaches people how to grow their own food on her blog, Gardener to Farmer and in her GYO groups on Facebook and MySpace . Recently, she partnered with Susan Harris of Garden Rant fame to develop a collaborative directory that would serve as a starting point for people searching for Garden Coaches anywhere in the world.

There are several reasons why now is the right time to learn to grow your own food...

  • Cost savings
  • Certainty of production methods
  • Supporting your local community

Lots of writing and conversation has come forth about the return of the Victory Garden…and I don’t mean the TV show.

There was a time when we knew how to take care of ourselves in this way. We could grow and harvest our own fruits and vegetables, care for our own chickens, and milk our own cows. Even in the past 50 years or so, the family veggie garden was a common part of life.

Then we went and got all “citified”. Stopped relying on ourselves and started buying into the myth that getting our produce from the grocery store was a better idea. And the more we purchased, the more big agriculture grew, finding new chemicals and genetic modification practices to increase yields and length of storage.

Looking back on it, I can understand why we were eager to embrace “progress”. It was an amazing time saver, particularly for women who were raising a family and working full time. I mean, who had time to put in a full garden?

But in embracing this cultural shift, we’ve lost our respect for food. We have lost the understanding of what it means to value the earth and the bounty that it provides. We’ve lost touch with small farmers, now struggling to survive. We’ve lost the ability to provide for ourselves. And this is a bad time to not know how to provide for ourselves.

The biggest hurdle we face in returning to some level of food self-sufficiency is overcoming the notion that buying produce at the local grocery is a good strategy for healthy living. As we hear report after report of harmful bacteria in our fresh and packaged food supply, consumers trust mass production less and less. Toxic sprays and other inorganic farming methods can harm the environment and our bodies. And we have no idea of the long term ramifications of modifying our food through unnatural genetic manipulation.

The good news is that it takes very little to reclaim our past. Anyone can grow their own food, even if it is in pots on a balcony or in a sunny window, you can grow some portion of the produce you need to sustain your life. Seeds, soil and pots can be found for little to no cost. Taking small steps as an individual can make a big difference and by choosing to grow your own food and frequenting local organic farms, you help strengthen your community.

By not buying produce from big agriculture, you are using your money to vote for change. Together, we can make a difference.

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