More than likely COVID-19 has made you aware that the systems most people depend on for food are fragile. Food grown in another part of the country or world is then trucked or flown more than 1,000 miles to get to your local store. More importantly, 10 multinational corporations control over 90% of food and food products worldwide. As we’ve already found out, these monopolies can leave us with little more than breadcrumbs when there is a run on supplies. Pardon the joke. I mean it light-heartedly because often all the bread is gone, but basic bread-making ingredients like flour and yeast remain on the shelves. That’s where our opportunity to change one step at a time is.
Hunger is a scary notion exacerbated by fear, especially if you’ve never grown up with it. The Great Depression shaped the lives of our grandparents and great grandparents so strongly that many of them retained their “survival traits” for the rest of their lives. This pandemic promises to leave a lasting imprint on us too. This is especially true if you don’t already know or practice basic homesteading skills such as how to cook, bake, forage, garden, purify water, hunt, fish, raise animals, process game, preserve food and more.
After reading that list you probably feel pretty powerless right now. DON’T. You don’t have to know a lot. Homesteading doesn’t require a rural property, tons of land, or even a lot of time. It’s a lifestyle, but more than that it’s a thought process that shapes your worldview and begins with rethinking waste. It’s finding where you want to be and taking one step at a time to get there. It took us 5 years to get where we are today, it didn’t happen overnight. Let me say that again: It took us 5 years to get where we are today. Don’t lose hope.
Be kind to yourself and set realistic goals. Don’t compare your journey to someone else who has more money, more time, more knowledge, has been doing it longer, etc. Every little step forward is a victory and starting late is better than not starting at all. You just have to start.
So where do I suggest you start one step at a time? A garden.
No matter where you are, there is a way to garden. Even if you just regrow veggies from scraps in your windowsill or sprout seeds in a mason jar. Even if you drill drainage holes in 5-gallon buckets or yogurt containers, or stack tires and fill them with dirt, or build raised beds with old political signs and rescued pallets. There is a way, one step at a time.
Sure it doesn’t fill the need to be growing enough to eat but just the act of starting can be a comfort in and of itself. It reminds you that you are capable of providing for yourself in some small way. It lets you take your power back. Every lettuce leaf or tomato you harvest is one less product you have to buy from the store. Even a single plant is enough to build your confidence to expand your gardens next year.