February 2, 2015

Super Gardens Not Supermarkets

We need more super gardens and less supermarkets. I want my food to come from my yard, not 10,000 kilometres away. I want food in local fields, forests and yards.

Let's barter my potatoes, squash, kale, garlic and grains for your apples, corn, beans and tomatoes.

I can't think of anything more "productive" than nature and growing your own food.

Happiness is a full root cellar and pantry. Security is a group of neighbours helping each other out and enjoying the local bounty of nature together.

What if the supermarket threw a big sale event and no one came?

“Food security is not in the supermarket.”  
“How many of us lobby for green energy or protected lands, but don't engage with the local bounty to lay by for tomorrow's unseasonal reality? That we tend to not even think about this as a foundation for solutions in our food systems shows how quickly we want other people to solve these issues.”  
From: Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World, by Joel Salatin, 


  1. We enjoy growing our own; nothing like the taste of fresh veggies, swapping produce with neighbours feels good too. But like most people on our crowded, beautiful little island, we don't have enough space to grow all of our own. Local shops are stocking more local produce, farmers markets are good too, buying these goods saves air miles and helps the planet. We can't do it all but we enjoy doing what we can!

  2. Anonymous2/04/2015

    I had no idea that super markets were started in 1946. That seems a very short time ago. Amazing how dependent we became so quickly. I've been thinking about dependence and my computer. I can't imagine life without one. I remember when I first got one for home. It was around the late 80's. But one thing has changed in my life is that now I am not quick to go buy new stuff or engage in anything that I can become dependent on. I've been examining how dependent I am for heat, water, food, computer needs, etc. It is staggering to think of it all.

    I was able to grow a little food on my patio this past summer. I live in an apartment and pushed the window on what they will allow us to do here. Fortunately, I am on the back side and got away with it. I enjoyed growing a little food immensely. I enjoyed eating it even more! It's heartwarming to think about it especially on this cold winter night.


  3. Anonymous2/05/2015

    Yes! Super Gardens. I am really looking forward to spring planting. I've gardened all my life and cannot imagine not growing/gathering at least some of my own food.

    It's also surprising how productive a small area can be. A 1mx1m plot can grow 48-64 garlic plants - a year's supply for me, so much more flavourful (amazing plump, oily, sticky, potent) than the mediocre off-shore stuff from the big stores. Plus bonus scapes in early summer. The garlic is planted in October, basically grows itself with a bit of weeding & water and is ready in late August. Harvesting a plot of garlic is so rewarding. Some of the garlic harvest can be split into cloves and replanted each year, so only the initial purchase of a good variety is required once. Richter's Herbs is a good source. Local, organic garlics sells for more than $2 a head here. It's such a treat this time of year to have my stash of homegrown garlic for cooking. I've done this for several years, each year my garlic patch gets a bit larger, as it's impossible to grow too much - I share with as many friends and family as I can.

    Even 8-10 kale plants in a small (well tended/fertile) bed or large planter will provide a large amount of healthy, tasty food for months and will have a positive health benefit.

    The same size plot can grow salad veg for the entire season from June to October, full of varieties not available in the stores. Last year my tiny 1m (3'x3') salad plot contained: French breakfast radish, white pearl radish, spinach, a mix of leaf lettuce, chives, dill, parsley, frisee endive, mizuna, cylindrical beets, a cherry tomato vine, arugula, kale, red onions, nasturtiums, tatsoi, kale, and a couple of cucumber plants! So tasty! By replanting small areas in the plot throughout the season, it kept me in almost daily salads, plus extras for a couple pots of soup (beet, kale, mixed veg), herbs for seasoning, and some cooked dishes (endive in white sauce, pastas/stir fries, omelettes, and even a bit of tomato puree for a few pizzas.) I have lots of seed left over for this year, so even more cost effective. It was sort of an experiment to see how productive a tiny plot could be, and exceeded my expectations. I spent way more time admiring it, than actually tending it. To get home from work and pick a bowl of whatever was in its prime to have dinner a few minutes later was often a high point in my day. Whatever was ready, inspired the meal...mixed greens with pear, walnut and bleu cheese, beet salad with goat cheese, dill/cucumber/yogurt salad with pitas, spinach salad, salad lyonnaise with frisee, spicy greens with Asian dressing and a bit of grilled certified humane chicken, lots of different kale salads, tomato/parsley tabouleh, etc, etc. A fist full of French breakfast radishes with good bread, butter, and sea salt (and maybe a cold beer) is one of the best lunches ever.

    One Magic Square by Lolo Holbein is one of my favorite garden books. Living in Australia now, she survived WWII and famine in Holland, so really understands the need to have greater control of our food resources. She also discusses food security, big agro business, GMO plants, and tips on effective use of garden produce/food pantry. She also has fun themed layouts for small plots such as a soup plot, stir fry plot, omega 3 greens plot, a few different salad gardens, curry plot, three sisters plot, etc.



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