by Dr. Joseph Mercola, Mercola:
- It’s estimated that more than 20 million Americans planted a vegetable garden for the first time during the pandemic
- Gardening has taken on a sense of novelty as many view it as a hobby or leisure activity, but in relatively recent history — prior to industrialization — nearly all Americans grew food
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- Growing your own food is something I encourage virtually everyone to take part in, even if you have limited space
- In addition to fresh produce from your garden, round out your preparatory food supply with nutritious shelf-stable foods and a clean supply of potable water
- Gardening has also been treasured just as much for its nutritious harvests as for the solace and healing it provides
Home gardens became trendy again in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic led to societal upheaval. At the time, seed suppliers were overwhelmed by the unprecedented demand1 of people looking to take control of one of the most basic forms of self-preservation — growing your own food.
It’s estimated that more than 20 million Americans planted a vegetable garden for the first time during the pandemic,2 and with continued threats of food shortages looming, the demand for home gardens only continues to grow. But the truth is, gardening during times of crisis is nothing new. Humans have been turning back to the soil for generations as a way to not only battle food insecurity but also to take part in the fundamental practice of farming.
Not Long Ago, Everyone Grew Food
Gardening has taken on a sense of novelty as many view it as a hobby or leisure activity, but in relatively recent history — prior to industrialization — nearly all Americans grew food.3 While humans as a whole are arguably now more removed from the natural world than they have been at any other point in history, humankind has a way of harkening back to its agricultural roots.
This is especially true during times of uncertainty. During World War II, a time when potential food shortages were top of mind, victory gardens became so prolific that they supplied an estimated 40% of Americans’ fresh vegetables.4
During the 1950s, when convenience food was all the rage, a “back-to-the-land movement” “spawned its own generation of home-growers … rebelling against a mid-century diet now infamous for Jell-O mold salads, canned-food casseroles, TV dinner and Tang,” wrote Jennifer Atkinson, senior lecturer, environmental studies with the University of Washington.5
Gardening has also been treasured just as much for its nutritious harvests as for the solace and healing it provides. According to Atkinson:6
“For black Americans denied the opportunity to abandon subsistence work, Jim Crow-era gardening reflected a different set of desires. In her essay ‘In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens,’7 Alice Walker recalls her mother tending an extravagant flower garden late at night after finishing brutal days of field labor.
As a child, she wondered why anyone would voluntarily add one more task to such a difficult life. Later, Walker understood that gardening wasn’t just another form of labor; it was an act of artistic expression. Particularly for black women relegated to society’s least desirable jobs, gardening offered the chance to reshape a small piece of the world in, as Walker put it, one’s ‘personal image of Beauty.'”
Gardens have also long been used as tool to provide fresh produce and a sense of community in inner city “food deserts,” with residents planting vegetable gardens in vacant lots and along sidewalks.8
By 2020, “corona victory gardens” came back into favor, and now, with the technocratic elite intentionally dismantling systems of food and energy production, severe food shortages appear to be more or less inevitable. This is why growing your own food is something I encourage virtually everyone to take part in, even if you have limited space.
You Can Grow Food Even in Limited Space
Growing as much fresh food as you can is an important strategy, but you’ll need to ensure you have plenty of seeds on hand. So the first step to gardening is securing your seed supply. You can do this not only by purchasing seeds but also by saving seeds from your own plants and participating in local seed swaps.
While I have stopped growing sunflower sprouts due to their relatively high content of linoleic acid (LA), they’re an example of a nutrient-dense food that can be grown with limited space — and quickly. Just how simple is it to grow nutritious sprouts right at home, in just a few simple steps? As shown in my Bitchute video:9
|First, soak the seeds in clean water for eight hours|
|Empty the soaking water into a watering can or other container to use for watering other plants|
|Rinse the seeds and leave them unsoaked for 24 hours or until sprouts germinate|
|Next, fill a tray halfway with soil|
|Spread the seeds evenly over the soil|
|Water until the soil is moist but not dripping|
|Cover the soil with ceramic tile and 5- to 10-pound weights|
|Remove the tiles to water every 24 hours for two to four days; replace the tiles and weights between waterings|
|Once sprouts begin to lift the tiles, remove them|
|Place the tray in a sunny area|
|Harvest the sprouts after two to three days by clipping them at the base with scissors|
In about a week, you can have fresh, nutritious food. During times of food crisis, this makes sprouts an ideal food source, as, due to their short growth cycle, they can be harvested daily as needed. In normal times, consuming sunflower sprouts in moderation will ensure that they don’t increase your LA intake to unhealthy levels.
If you have an abundance of produce from your home garden, also be aware that you can donate any excess. According to a survey by Bonnie Plants, only half of home gardeners are able to use all of the food that their gardens produce, yet only 10% connect with organizations to donate their harvest. Mike Sutterer, president and CEO of Bonnie Plants explained:10
“Many people don’t realize that you can donate the extra food from your garden directly to local food pantries. Most gardeners end up with extra zucchini, cucumber, tomatoes that they don’t know what to do with, and if all of these gardeners donated just a bag or two of vegetables, we could make a significant impact on food insecurity nationwide.”
Embracing Nutritious Shelf-Stable Foods
To enhance your personal food supply, if local regulations allow, you can add chickens for a steady supply of eggs. (Just remember that they, too, may need additional feed.) A more long-term strategy is to invest in fruit bushes and trees. You can also join a local food co-op, and buy shelf-stable and nonperishable foods in bulk.
Dry staples such as beans can also stay viable long past their expiration date under the right conditions, however, ideally you’ll want to enhance your stash with more nutritious foods. With that in mind, here’s a list of shelf-stable and nutritious items that can help you get through hard times: