Five Steps to Sustainable Food Security

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While we watch our global and national economies struggle, we can take action by educating ourselves on what food security really means. Wisdom will lead to change. By learning about our local agriculture and ways we can grow our own food, we can be confident knowing our food and nutrition is secure.

A basket of eggs with fresh cut asparagus on top.

What is the Importance of Food Security?

As we see food prices rise and hear about the possibility of hyperinflation along with experiencing supply chain issues, we begin to understand that nothing is guaranteed in this world.

Being an influencer, I don't want to fear-monger, however, I also don't want to ignore general concerns. As parents, one of our main responsibilities is feeding our families.

There is peace in knowing that we can learn ways to ensure our household food security.

What are the Four Pillars of Food Security?

  1. Availability – Knowing that we have food systems available no matter what global food security looks like.
  2. Access – We need to know that we always have access to nutritious food whether we live in rural areas or a suburb.
  3. Utilization – Defined as the action of making practical and effective use of something.
  4. Stabilization – Educating ourselves to know that we can physically make our food security a long-term solution.

A boy holding an armful of produce standing between multiple raised garden beds.

What are Examples of Food Security?

There are a few things that everybody should be doing today. Everyone needs to come together to share their knowledge in whatever way possible because we're all better for it! People living in rural and urban areas alike can all take a few steps towards food security.

  • Localize Your Food Sources – Find your local food production sources and support them!
  • Live More Sustainably – Learn ways to grow your own food.
  • Be Less Dependent on Food Systems – If we grow our own food, we can eat it too!

My Five Steps to Sustainable Food Security

Raise a Flock of Backyard Chickens

This is commonly known as the gateway for many beginning homesteaders! A few things to know about chickens:

  1. You Don't Need a Rooster – Unless you want to hatch eggs, a noisy rooster is not needed.
  2. Supplement food source – Don't trade in your grocery budget for a feed store budget. Stretch the feed by learning how to ferment, sprout, or free-range-feeding.
  3. Start with a small flock – Chicken math is a real thing! 5-10 birds are usually sufficient to feed a family.

Already have chickens? Troubleshoot why your backyard chickens stopped laying eggs in this post.

A man's hands holding compost.

Learn to Compost

I used to buy my compost because I thought I needed a lot of space. I soon realized that wasn't really sustainable. If you are gardening on any scale you will learn that compost gets expensive.

If you have chickens or other animals, you already have material for your compost pile. Add in leaves, mulch, and grass clippings from your yard along with kitchen scraps and you are well on your way to composting.

You can also fill a five-gallon bucket with compost material, attach an aquarium bubble aerator and make compost tea. This multiplies the microbes and you can quickly grow your compost to feed your entire garden without buying anything!

Learn how to use the Berkeley 18-day compost method here.

Salad greens growing in a Greenstalk Vertical Garden planter.

Learn to Garden

People often don't get started in gardening because they have an ideal image in their heads of what gardening should look like. I'm here to encourage you to get started on a small scale.

One small 4 x 8 ft. bed or a Greenstalk vertical garden can grow a lot of food. Gain wisdom and grow your space as you can!

I wrote a book called The First Time Gardener specifically with new gardeners in mind. I like to think I'm holding the garden gate open for those who have never entered before. Gardening should be an approachable and enjoyable experience, not one of fear of failure. When it comes to gardening, oftentimes failure can be our greatest teacher.

Check out my other resources on how to plan a garden, building a garden with a $7 kiddie pool, vertical gardening ideas (and this complete guide to vertical gardening).

You don't even need a garden in order to grow food. Check out how I use soil bags to grow a garden.

Dozens of seedling pots with plant starts growing.

Learn to Grow from Seed

Growing from seed means that you always have the option of more food. Not to mention seed packets are much less expensive than buying already started plants. And even more affordable than buying the produce at the grocery store.

Growing from seed is definitely a learning curve, so now is the time to educate yourself (learn how to start seeds in six easy steps here)!

As long as you store seeds in a cool, dry place without sunlight, they will last for a very long time.

When covid hit, and we started hearing of food supply issues, I had peace of mind knowing I had the seeds and knew what to do with them!

Learn about the advantages of starting seeds indoors, where to buy heirloom seeds, my must-grow garden varieties, and how to save seeds.

A woman stirring salt into a bowl of popcorn.

Learn How to Cook from Staples

This is so important! We've learned to eat this way because we're feeding a large family. An added benefit is actually enjoying the food you are eating. Solid meals that you want to eat! Some basic criteria for staples:

  • Readily Available
  • Shelf Stable
  • Cheap
  • Easy to Make

A meal of red beans, rice, cornbread, and sausage is full of nutrition, satisfying, and delicious!

Start Now

Turn your waiting room into a classroom!

My goal is to teach you to feel secure, not afraid, no matter what the national climate. Partner with someone you know if you don't want to step out on your own. Volunteer at a community garden and support people around you who are growing food.

No matter what you do, just do something and start now. There is so much learning to be done!

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