I saw some click-bait this morning about the most “terrifying” aisle at the supermarket. The article was referring to the price of veggies and fruit which went up 7.3% and 3.7% respectively between March and June 2022.
I get that it’s fear-driven journalism tactics to get us to open the article, but there’s a deeper question. Why does the media assume we are so dependent on the supermarket that a price rise “terrifies” us?
It’s because we *are* dependent on the supermarket.
Think about it: if we are dependent on the supermarket for every piece of food on every plate we dish up, we are absolutely at the mercy of fluctuating prices. And guess what? If fruit and veg make up the bulk of your weekly grocery shop, that recent 5% wage increase is all going there.
Being completely self-sufficient is a dream most people find daunting and quite often undesirable. Not everyone wants to milk cows at 5 am. But all families can be a little bit self-sufficient. Whether it’s the choice to use cloth nappies so you’re not tied to the supermarket for a daily staple for the first 2.5 years of your child’s life… or just growing your own salad greens.
Creating change is well within our power.
If growing your own food at home has felt like a pipedream but now feels like a necessity, here are my tips for getting started THIS WEEKEND. Don’t put this off. If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, August is the best time to get some seeds into pots and sit them in a sunny spot out of the reach of frost.
- Let go of the idea that you need a hobby farm to start growing your veggies. Start with a handful of pots on the verandah/balcony and start with things that grow well and keep coming back as you use them: herbs, lettuce, spinach. The current price of dried parsley is $133 – $500 a kilo, depending on the brand. Why do we pay this when we can grow parsley with basically no effort, cut, dry, blitz and store ourselves? My spinach takes up approximately half a square metre of space in the garden but the same lot has been supplying us for over 2 years.
- Let go of the idea that you need a huge budget to get started. You can start for free. Ask your neighbours, friends, family or on buy/swap/sell sites if anyone has some seedlings you could have. When your time comes and things start growing well, pay it forward.
- Plant what you know your family will eat. Don’t plant kale if your family doesn’t like it.
- Learn to use what’s in season because that’s what will grow in your garden.
- Keep the bottoms of the shallots and bok choi that you buy at the supermarket and restart these in a pot or a jar of water. Once your shallots start going crazy (and they will), harvest and freeze for future use.
- When your plants start doing well, let one of them go to seed so you can collect and save for the following season.