View Full Version : informal economy/gardening for sustainability
01-30-2008, 10:35 PM
So lately I have been thinking rather obsessively about the future of global food production, and I am realizing how vital it may be to begin gardening to feed myself and those around me.
Does anyone here grow their own food? Or participate in a sort of collective of people that are interested in a green, sustainable future?
I am in Baltimore, MD so I don't really know how difficult it would be to grow the fruits/veggies I love...but it really doesn't matter since I am relocating to California anyway.
I am just not interested in taking an active role in this consumerist nation any longer, and I feel that growing my own food would be a huge step toward freeing myself of the capitalist economy.
Sorry if that seems a little extreme, I was just wondering what kind of experience everyone has had with gardening for food! Thanks a lot.
01-31-2008, 12:51 AM
Ive been thinking about this ALOT too, not just in terms of personally, but on a wider/more global level... like, how do we even grown enough food to feed us now!!!....???? i just started working for an organic produce delivery company outside seattle, and i CANT BELIEVE HOW MUCH PRODUCE WE GO THROUGH EVERY DAY--and we're only serving probably 3000-3500 or so households!!! i cant believe how much produce we go through every week just to serve this tiny tiny sector of the population.... i dont even understand how it all grows, how theres ENOUGH stuff growing somewhere to keep feeding all of us!!! anyway, if you are going to southern california, i'd say youd have better luck growing a variety of fruits and veggies yearround...that said, ive also been thinking alot about the year-round availability of food, the "local food" movement, and the fact that I grew up in New England, where my parents have a several acre garden and sell at farmers markets during the summer. the fact of the matter is that yes, during the summer, we COULD without a doubt grow enough produce ie fruits and veggies, to feed ourselves. BUT.. the variety would be sort of limited, even in the summer, because things are seasonal--ie you cant get blueberries until they come out on the bushes and the season is short; you cant have melon until the seed/plant has been growing for 3 months or so, again, "seasons", ; you cant have apples until the summer, etc etc etc... so unfortunately, depending on where you live, i think eating "local" can end up being pretty limited....plus, in climates like that, if you are vegan, where would you get fats and oils? avocados and coconuts dont grow there, nor do olives or sesame...so you might manage to get sunflower oil but only if you grew and pressed the seeds yourself.. so im not sure what the solution is to all this... it IS awfully hard to "just eat local" or even eat mostly local, unless you are in a climate that is temperate or warm all year..... AND there is the issue of things being "seasonal" and/or taking a long time to grow. i cant believe all the fruits and veggies even just I myself go through....
all that said, one of the options for growing in colder temperatures is these things ive seen called biodomes or somethingl...i saw one in maryland and one in colorado; basically theyre a greenhouse that is the shape of the epcot center, though a lot smaller and they have a black water tank inside that sucks up the suns heat during the winter days and the heat disperses at night, thus keeping it never below 50 degrees or somethign... but even if you can keep it "sort of warm"; you still have the issue of reduced sunlight during the shorter days of winter.... and you still are pretty limited in what you can grow year round (ie no fruits, etc, i dont think; fruits dont tend prefer cold-temperature)
....of course if we wanted to take advangtage of genetic engineering, then we could use the new banana strain i heard they are developing that is supposed to allow you to grow bananas in minnesota..... :mad:
just kidding about using the gm bananas but unfortunately not kidding about having heard they are developing them....
all that said,
01-31-2008, 11:03 AM
well I like this topic as this is something I think about too...
I live in Canada so winter is certainly an issue. I would move to someplace temperate to try and solve that problem but then we have other issues, mainly borders and people not just being allowed to roam the Earth freely.
One needs money to live on and buy land and retire in the tropics, or an education that is in demand for that area or a business that will employ locals. Language is an issue. Health care access. I'm a bit intimidated to move to the states after the sicko movie....not that Canada's healthcare doesn't have issues...and that whole thing is another can of worms altogether. Point is I don't want to go bankrupt for something like that when where I am now I wouldn't. So I don't want to trade what I have, I just want to add to it, lol.
And then I think, well shouldn't everyone be able to grow their own food then?
Cities, I believe are a natural occurance of humanity. People congregate. Systems develop. Trade happens. The evidence of ancient cities is there.
So cities by nature, have limited space. I mean could I put a biodome in my backyard? A greenhouse? Well maybe. Could it feed my entire family? No. What about all these apartments and condos?
I've even thought about and investigated rooftop gardens. I love the idea, but implementing it in my house would be expensive and difficult...
As well, gardening is a lot of work. and time. I mean it sounds glamorous in a hippy kind of way, but you have a hard time leaving for a week or even a weekend. I grew up on a farm and it's not a luxurious lifestyle. Not that that is the point, but toiling the Earth all the live long day doesn't seem right either.
I would much rather just pick fruit off trees and lay around in the shade. And do work that I FELT like doing or was inspired to do. Like make a Swiss Family Robinson pad...that would be fun. Well from where I sit now.
I don't know what my point is anymore, just rambling at this point.
But it's all very interesting.
...Ok, here's my best point. I think that buying food should be a realistic, sustainable practice that supports the people who want to sell to the masses. I think everyone needs some sort of cashflow to meet bills, live on unfree land and so on. So there has to be careers, money exchanged, commodities such as food, traded. I think buying food could be natural if you stretch your imagination a bit.
The problem for me lies in the system, mainly the exhaust of it all. The pollution of air, water and land. It doesn't need to be so nasty and evil, does it?
01-31-2008, 06:31 PM
I am working on raising my own food. Also belong to an organic membership club. Both are easy to do in Florida.
I believe growing as much of our food as possible is an important step to staying well fed in the future. The price of food is going up. The quality of food keeps coming down.
There is a great web site: www.pfaf.org. They are based in England and have a theory on gardening that includes using local crops and periennial veggies and fruits. Yes, there are periennial veggies like broccoli. We pretty much eat a few varieties of foods when there are thousands of different plants that can be easily raised in different parts of the word.
Also, there is sprouting which give one lots of food for very cheap. One can also use ocean water for fertilizer - www.oceangrown.com.
Then there are the super foods - chocolate, hemp, goji berries, chia seeds, maca - which give a lot of nutrition for the amount. Some of them can be raised up north and some here in the sub-tropics.
There are also earthboxes which allow one to have a portable garden. There are lots of options now and we should all be taking advantage of them.
02-01-2008, 10:28 AM
path to freedom, and see how that family does it on in the suburbs.....
really great stuff.
02-01-2008, 11:33 AM
I have recently been thinking about this same idea.
In an ideal world...everyone would grow at least some of their own food. For living in San Francisco, my room is quite large and very sunny. I have been thinking of looking into one of the portable gardens and trying it out. Of course most food eaten should be locally grown.
It pains me to think about how out of wack the current US food system is. It has changed drastically in the last 50 years while obesity, cancer, diabetes, and other problems continue to rise. Correlation? Definitely! Something has to be done!
In Ann Wigmore's sprouting book, she describes a system in which you compost the root/dirt mats from your greens right into a trash barrel in your kitchen. Then adding your kitchen scraps to the mix, and eventually using that compost to grow your indoor greens. This is the first realistic idea along these lines that I have come across...and the book was written over two decades ago :p .
I think that even implementing some simple systems like this is a good start. Obviously, it would be difficult for everyone to grow their own tomatoes all year round, but maybe have some greenhouses in every area that could help the supply during the winter months. Then have local farms supply more food (along with the greenhouses) in the winter. People would just have to learn to eat a bit more seasonally and LOCALLY!
OK, so import some coconuts, mangos, and bananas :rolleyes: because I cannot live without these!
It is my dream to get this all figured out :confused: ...I have been thinking about it for a long time.
Thanks for this thread!
02-01-2008, 12:00 PM
To me, it is like going Raw. You have to do what is right for you. Lots of people think they want to be 100% raw, only to fall off the wagon or move thousands of miles and buy hundreds of acres. I think most people should start small in Raw or gardening. And progress slowly but steadily forward. I am currently just growing in doors. I have Sunflowers, Soft Wheat berries for Rejuvilac, Hard Wheat berries for wheat grass, Sprouts for salads. All of these are on shelves in my kitchen. This is also a way to extend your growing season for people who have long winter. Sprouting in doors then you can plant outdoors and harvest sooner. Another great place to sprout is in the bathroom. You have to make the best of what you have and move forward daily.:)
02-01-2008, 02:23 PM
Have you read the Barbara Kingsolver book, Animal Vegetable Miracle (I think that's the right order!)? It's all about the local movement. She is not raw (or even vegetarian), but she & her family (in Tennessee) made a commitment to eat locally for one year. Very good read.
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