With food shortages looming around the world, there’s no better time to adopt self sufficient living and start growing your own food. Just last spring, the Wall Street Journal published an article addressing the prospect of a food crisis right here in the United States. The article written in April of 2008 pointed out that food prices were already rising faster than the returns a person would likely expect by keeping money in the bank or a money market fund. Manu Daftary, a top Wall Street investor and the manager of the Quaker Strategic Growth mutual fund stated, “I think prices are going higher. People are too complacent. They think it isn’t going to happen here. But I don’t know how the food companies can absorb higher costs.” Couple that with the reports which followed in the summer warning that crops were only average at best. Soy beans in the United States were running 16% behind when the article was written in June of last year.
So here’s the question – is it really practical for families to think about growing their own food? While it’s unrealistic to think that you will grow everything – fruit, vegetables, grains, etc., you can certainly grow more than you might think. What’s more, you can have enough surplus to share or trade with others who grow the things you don’t manage to produce. To do that will require careful planning, preparation, and yes – hard work. But those who do it agree that it’s well worth it.
Where do you start? I want to recommend an excellent book written by an expert who’s been growing much of his own food for a long time and making a living with the surplus. I consider The New Organic Grower a must read for anyone who wants to make a serious dent in their food bill, and explore the idea of becoming more self sufficient, perhaps even making some money to boot. The book covers everything from the tools you’ll need, crop selection, planting and crop rotation, and pest control. The beauty of this book is that Eliot Coleman shows you how to have a successful small family farm which can provide both food and a living. With spring just around the corner, it’s not too early to get ready for your garden now.