February 10, 2011
For most of us producing all of our own
food is just a fantasy.
It evokes visions of multiple acres of
fertile land, long work days, and expensive machinery. However, none
of these are necessary to achieve self-sufficient food production.
There are many
gardening techniques that can produce an abundance of food for
you and your family without requiring a lot of space, money or
equipment. What each of these methods will require is your time, but
not the dawn-to-dusk work hours associated with farming.
Rather, you will need time to study and practice these methods and
other food preparation skills such as learning to mill your own
wheat or corn flour to make breads, tortillas, pastas from scratch,
or learning to can, pickle, or preserve food in all its forms.
Your diet should also be considered when
planning for the best self-sufficient food production method. Do
you need meat and dairy products? How much grains do you
Yes, in order fully produce all of your food off-the-grid,
you may have to make changes to your current diet if your resources
are limited. Some may view these as dietary sacrifices, yet the
folks that can claim a high level of
food self-reliance will all claim their diet is far healthier
than the average American.
With dedication and proper planning, everyone has the ability to
looming food crisis by producing their own food.
None of the following methods should
necessarily be considered by itself. Each offers unique techniques
that can be mixed and matched for the best results. Their optimal
application depends on calculations of your property size, climate
zone, or your budget and time constraints.
Here are the 4 best food production methods for self-reliance:
Permaculture is where you design
an entire edible habitat based on the natural capital of
Then, place plants to methodically balance the
soil, water, and pests. For instance, a nitrogen fixing
plant may be planted next to a nitrogen hungry plant, which
may sit next to an ornamental that deters predators, and so
Permaculture gardening re-creates nature by using a
large variety of plants while incorporating as many
different animals as feasible like
chickens, goats, ducks, and bees. You may also see
features like vertical gardening and aquaculture ponds in
permaculture designs depending on the space available.
Utilizing this method is not expensive, but requires a lot
of know-how and trial and error. Permaculture gardening can
produce massive abundance.
See the amazing video below for
a real-world example of going off-the-grid in suburbia:
Aquaponics is a interdependent hybrid system of
aquaculture and hydroponic gardening.
Vegetables and herbs
grow in soil-less containers that are fed with waste water
from the aquaculture pools. The plants feast on the
bacteria from fish waste and return the water to the fish in
a purified state.
These systems can be as big or as small as
you wish and can potentially produce large amounts of fish
and vegetables. When done properly, very little if any
additional fertilizer or chemicals are needed, just fish
food. Aquaponics can also be applied indoors, either in a
greenhouse setting or with grow lights.
The video below is a
good description of the benefits of Aquaponics:
If you live in a region of the
world with harsh winters, then a greenhouse will be
essential for food self-sufficiency.
greenhouse alone is not a strategy for full food production
unless it is a large facility. Typically it can be viewed
as a compliment to other gardening methods.
In fact, the Dervaes family in the first video above uses a greenhouse to
clone and start seedlings even though they live in Southern
California. There are great designs and
greenhouse starter kits available online.
Below is a
brief video on the benefits of greenhouse gardening:
Indoor Grow Rooms
Indoor growing is typically done
with grow lights and
Some people have sun-rooms in their homes
which can basically act as a fancier greenhouse. However,
for this section we'll focus on indoor hydroponics.
method of growing is certainly not the cheapest way to
produce food, yet it is a steadfast method especially where
weather and other elements can hinder food self-sufficiency.
hydroponics requires grow lights such as
along with tubing, drainage, fertilizer and ventilation.
However, even a small space can produce fantastic yields
for leafy vegetables, herbs, tomatoes, sprouts, and much
more. To make this method fully off the grid find the most
energy efficient grow lights possible and think about
generator to offset the electric costs.
Below is a
video about indoor plant lighting: