I’ve been giving a lot of thought to this lately. It’s something I’ve officially added to my medium-term plan.

I’ve never been interested in growing my own food, and to be honest, the thought of it doesn’t sound that fun. However, there are two huge reasons why growing your own food aligns 100% with a long-term happy, Alpha 2.0 lifestyle.

The first reason, and the most important one, is health. Food is healthy to the degree to which it’s close to it’s original source. In other words, the healthiest food you can eat, by far, is food from sources you farm yourself. Examples would be vegetables from your own garden or chickens or cows you eat that you raise and butcher yourself.

The next healthiest food you can eat would be to get 100% organic, fresh foodstuffs from a farmer who lives right down the street from you, whom you trust is growing/raising the food sources without any chemicals, steroids, GMO’s, pesticides, or any of that garbage. It’s not quite as healthy as growing/raising it yourself, but it’s close.

The next healthiest food is food you purchase at your local grocery store that you pay a lot of extra money for that says it’s 100% organic and cage free or farm raised. This is what I do now. I pay a premium for “free range” chicken and organic vegetables. I don’t know for a fact that what I’m buying is as advertised (it may not be), but I know my odds are better with this kind of food than the standard stuff.

The next healthiest food you can get is the ordinary fruits, vegetables, and fresh meat at your grocery store. It’s not organic or free range, but at least it’s not processed.

That leaves the worst food, which is processed food; food you buy at the store in a can or a package that’s been processed by a big factory. That food is shit, and you should consider food like that only valid for predesignated cheat days.

With my goal of living a very long time and being healthy in my old age, I think growing my own food is a good idea.

The second reason for growing your own food, beyond health reasons, is to be protected in the case of a catastrophe. As I’ve said before, I don’t think the collapse of the Western world, though coming, will be some kind of Mad Max apocalypse. I’m confident no matter how bad things get, people with money will still be able to buy food. Regardless, I can’t deny that growing and eating your own food is another layer of security that’s pretty compelling.

Sometime next year or perhaps the year after, well after Pink Firefly moves in, this is something her and I are going to tackle. I know nothing about this stuff, but my understanding is that it isn’t very hard. I have a huge yard in the back and sides of my house, so I have more than enough room. I may even get one of those small, portable greenhouses.

The idea of eating my own tomatoes, onions, garlic, lettuce, broccoli, and cauliflower harvested right out of my back yard is very attractive. Raising my own livestock is probably not something we’ll do; too much work and it’s stinky and messy, but I’ve thought about it. Perhaps I’ll stick with growing my own vegetables, and then focusing on locating and working with a local butcher or farmer who raises their own free range chickens.

Strangely enough, my neighbors behind me, right on the other side of my fence, raise chickens. Every once in a while a chicken will leap the fence and get into my yard, to the great happiness of my daughter and to the disgust of my girlfriend. It’s hilarious.

Maybe I can barter with my neighbors for some fresh eggs and chicken meat. Hmm…

25 Comments on “Growing Your Own Food

  1. When I was a kid, we lived with my grandfather (my mother’s dad; my parents were divorced) and we had a very large garden.  We lived in an “outer city ring” type of property, but had plenty of yard.  The garden probably came from the fact that my grandfather had been raised on a farm and this was ingrained in him.

    It was mostly a vegetable garden, except for watermelons, and we had a wide variety available.  My mother was good at canning, so we had homegrown veggies even in the winter.

  2. OH NO.. C’mon Caleb!

    Fruit & Vegetables Are Overrated & You Don’t Need Them to Be Healthy.*

    Beside that, you just over thinking about the scenario above AND definitely it become so many hassle. You definitely must apply your 2% rule to get rid of your paranoia. Stick to buy only from fresh market.

    Your (many) concern would rapidly vanish, if you’re already Multi-Millionaire though.

    *) Please do some research on Fruit/vegetable Elitism.

  3. Fruit & Vegetables Are Overrated & You Don’t Need Them to Be Healthy

    I’m not getting into one of those stupid arguments.

    You definitely must apply your 2% rule to get rid of your paranoia.

    How am I paranoid? I eat food from my grocery store at the moment, plan to for at least a few more years, and that’s perfectly fine.

  4. My new hobby for 2017 turned out to be growing a garden.  I’ve learned a lot about many things I had never before considered or had any real tactile reason to understand.  I grew up in the suburbs with a family garden, but never had any major exposure to agriculture, etc.

    I’ve spent many months in drylands, tropical and temperate climates, so it’s interesting to reflect on how one would grow food in each of those climates.  The Pacific Northwest probably would be a great place to grow food, though I’m sure it has its challenges as well.

    Some of the big takeaways so far have been learning basic permaculture principles, latin names of some plants, growing from seed versus grafting, growing zones, reforestation, and water management with swales and ponds.  Regarding knowledge and growth, it’s probably been the greatest amount of learning I’ve done on any subject in quite some time.

    My favorite YouTube personalities to learn from: Justin Rhodes (Great American Farm Tour) and Geoff Lawton.  Also, in Phoenix – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EoRNv8N0Abs. The best book is the original by Bill Mollison.

    I used terra cotta pots because it turned out the lead levels where I live are very high. But I used companion planting principles, started a compost pile, have a bunch of fresh herbs, a few tomatoes, am making compost tea and am starting a Hugelkultur mound.

    It’s hard to grow that much food in the city, but anyone in the suburbs could grow a bunch of their summer/fall vegetables and fruit, and then can a lot of other stuff, like create a perennial food garden/forest.

  5. Also, like getting in nature, it is mentally restorative. I am slowly tackling this. Plant some fruit trees and built three raised beds last year, filled the raised beds with compost and soil this year. Will finally plant some veggies next year

  6. My favorite YouTube personalities to learn from: Justin Rhodes (Great American Farm Tour) and Geoff Lawton.  Also, in Phoenix –

    . The best book is the original by Bill Mollison.

    Very cool. I’ll check them out!

    Also, like getting in nature, it is mentally restorative.

    Absolutely. I didn’t mention that but that’s another real benefit, yes.

  7. What’s your research that organic fruits and veggies are better?
    From what I remember when it was all the hype, regular and organic are pretty much the same except my wallet would get hungry faster with organic.

  8. What’s your research that organic fruits and veggies are better?
    From what I remember when it was all the hype, regular and organic are pretty much the same except my wallet would get hungry faster with organic.

    It’s my same answer for all health/fitness-related information and advice, which is: It’s impossible to know for sure because there is no consensus in the heath/fitness industry about just about anything. For every researcher that says one thing, there’s another researcher that says it’s bullshit. Therefore, it’s up to us non-scientists to guess as to the most probable path for health. Organic fruits/veggies are likely better for you long-term than the normal stuff. I said likely, I didn’t say definitely, because no one knows for sure, including you and me.

    As always, I play the odds; I take the path of the most likely positive outcomes. Thus, I eat organic. If it’s more expensive, it’s up to me to increase my income to easily afford it, which I did.

  9. I really love gardening, planting all kinds of stuff and harvesting them later and I think this is a very rewarding hobby that everyone could benefit from. It’s not only reaping the fruits of the work you put on the plants, but it’s also about keeping yourself away for a while from the usual stress of modern life, with its computer screens, smartphones and stressful rhythm. This along with repairing stuff myself (bikes, car, house appliances) make me get away from all that and have some time just for me.I just have a couple tomato plants, parsley, aloe cactus, a small fruit tree and other shamanic stuff growing (legal in my jurisdiction), and that’s living in a flat, because plants really change your environment and help stay sane in this mad world. Also, a good tip for having a good garden is do not have cats!! Those fuckers will destroy everything you try to grow.

    With my goal of living a very long time and being healthy in my old age,

    You did a post long ago about supplements, didn’t you? I really think you should check these posts made by professionals in the medical field:https://www.lewrockwell.com/2017/07/bill-sardi/making-genetic-flaw/https://www.lewrockwell.com/2002/02/bill-sardi/can-we-live-longer/There's been a lot that has been said about C, but it wasn’t until I read those two articles that I realized how much it really meant to take higher doses of it. Summarizing it, apparently for most animals it is a hormone and their own body produces it, for humans no, or at least not in the few last thousands of years. Animals who produce it live 8-10 times their age after maturity, animals who don’t have difficulties reaching 3-4 times that. Which means that if humans had (again?) the mutation which enabled it to produce it for themselves they could get to live up to a theoretical 160-200 years. Some researchers suspect that this could have been the case in the past and that these mutations died off somehow, but that you can make up for that by consuming very high doses of it (several thousand milligrams) via supplementation.There’s people out there buying buffered C in powder via amazon, which is really cheap (even more than the pills), and consuming 2000-4000mg every day or even more. You might be interested in checking it out if you’re really serious about longevity or trying to break a new record on years lived.See you when I’m 100. 😉

  10. Eating as much plants as possible and as few animal products as possible (ideally none at all), is proven to have many health benefits. Probably orders of msgnitudes more beneficial than switching food source from industrial farming to organic farming (which is a great thing to so though). And it doesn’t hurt the wallet.

    Eating animal products is Social Programming and Unhealthy Addictions (one order of magnitude bellow alcool and smoking). Get eid of that bad habit and your body will thank you.

  11. You did a post long ago about supplements, didn’t you?

    Yep:

    http://calebjonesblog.com/vitamins/

    been a lot that has been said about C, but it wasn’t until I read those two articles that I realized how much it really meant to take higher doses of it.

    Yep, way ahead of you. I’ve already read that data, so for many years now, I take a huge capsule of 1500 vitamin C every time I consume food, usually about 3-4 times per day. I take a big fish oil pill with it too.

    Speaking of apocalypses, of Mad Max variety and otherwise, do you own firearms?

    I won’t answer that question publicly. I admit to nothing. 😉

    The post I have coming up for Sunday here touches on that topic though.

  12. Home grown veggies taste the best, all our best stuff gets exported so we left with all the shitty rejects here from 3rd harvest. On movies I’m always so jealous at the shiny fruit in the background and the huge apples when our apples are the size if my palm and I have tiny hands so you must know. I grow my own fruit and veggies but its very frustrating because the monkeys raid my produce so I end up supplementing from the grocery store… Good old GMO. Supplements have their place but since its not regulated they sometimes use calcium carbonate as a filler which is very bad, it can settle in your arteries and cause problems. Bad arteries for men equals bad boners…just saying.

  13. I grow my own fruit and veggies but its very frustrating because the monkeys raid my produce so I end up supplementing from the grocery store

    Haha that’s awesome!

  14. Eating as much plants as possible and as few animal products as possible (ideally none at all), is proven to have many health benefits.

    This is social programming at its finest.  For every expert that you can cite that says veganism is better, I can find another equally brilliant source that says it’s not.  I just read this one the other day that refutes you.  http://roguehealthandfitness.com/vegetarians-dont-live-longer/

    http://roguehealthandfitness.com/vegetarians-dont-live-longer/

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25149402

  15. For every expert that you can cite that says veganism is better, I can find another equally brilliant source that says it’s not.

    That’s precisely the problem, and why the real answers to health are, at least at the moment, unknowable for sure.

    Over the next few decades I’m sure this will change, but for the moment, it’s up to us to look at both sides and then make a best guess (which could be wrong).

  16. For every expert that you can cite that says veganism is better, I can find another equally brilliant source that says it’s not.

    Ultimately, sometimes some people should be vegans and some should eat paleo.

    I think part of what creates seemingly conflicting ideas about nutrition is the fact that different people have different genetic and phenotypic nutritional needs.  Moreover different environments and seasons create different nutritional needs.  Most studies don’t look closely at all the variables because there probably are so many.

    And remember to consider the ever changing, symbiotic relationship with the human microbiome (https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-human-microbiome-project-defines-normal-bacterial-makeup-body).  And consider, for example, that human cells are potentially built using bacterial cell (mitochondria). Also, remember we don’t know everything yet about how the cell and DNA work. And consider all the other complex evolutionary/reproductive strategies of all the plants  (wheat, beans, different typs of fruit) and animals people eat.

    In other words, not everyone should be eating the same thing at the same time, though probably no one should drink too much red bull, etc…

     

     

  17. I wholeheartedly disagree with aligning as a Alpha 2.0 thing. It is location dependent. You have a garden? Then you have to take care of it, right there. Conuterpoint: Unless you have someone else doing the gardening for you. Even then, you might be across the world when it’s time to harvest and eat it.

    I’ve grown up tending my parents garden, which isn’t so bad if the whole family is doing it. You have to keep track of your watering, soil chemistry, weeds, tilling, etc. My most recent neighbor toiled over his garden all summer, only to have blight or something like that hit and ruin most of his crops. My wife setup a garden, only to get tired of taking care of it, so she let the weeds take it over and gave up.

    Go on vacation, or have a month-long business project? Got find someone to take care of the garden (and maybe your pets).

    There is a lot of work to growing food on your own, particularly if you do it yourself, with a low return on investment compared to just paying extra for organic produce (assuming you want to go organic).

  18. I wholeheartedly disagree with aligning as a Alpha 2.0 thing. It is location dependent. You have a garden? Then you have to take care of it, right there.

    Read this. The Alpha 2.0 has location independent income. As to whether or not he has a location independent lifestyle is completely up to him.

  19. I wholeheartedly disagree with aligning as an Alpha 2.0 thing. It is location dependent. You have a garden? Then you have to take care of it, right there.

    Counterpoint: Unless you have someone else doing the gardening for you. Even then, you might be across the world when it’s time to harvest and eat it.

    Good points.  

    I’m just learning much of this stuff, but according to sources (on the internet), there are some ways to overcome many gardening challenges. Here are some possible solutions:

    Set up the garden system so it is as low-maintenance as possible. That could include watering/irrigation techniques, groassis (expensive but you only supposedly need to water once or twice), using companion planting and guilds for plant health, thick mulching around plants, using newspaper or cardboard around plants to discourage weed growth. Permaculture type stuff.

    If you have a more self-sufficient system, you could just have someone come by for 15-60 minutes 1-3x a week depending on the size of your garden.

    If you are going to be out of town: someone else can use the harvest, you can store it for later, you can just plan your planting/harvest times around when you’ll be back or just plan your trips around harvest times. Lettuce has about 30-40 days to maturity, so plant it the week before you leave on a 3 week trip. Set up the irrigation system so it’s basically on autopilot.

    You can plant perennials instead of annuals, so you don’t have to do as much work after the first year.

    There is a lot of work to growing food on your own, particularly if you do it yourself, with a low return on investment compared to just paying extra for organic produce (assuming you want to go organic).

    Good points as well.  Most people would be more productive to focus on other areas of their life instead of running a personal garden/farm. 

    But after a few hours a week for a year or two, you’ll accumulate knowledge and experience.  Then you can probably find things that are higher returns on investment. For example, growing specific herbs and plants, maybe chickens for eggs, creating a food forest, harvesting rainwater.  

    Moreover, light gardening is in general considered a healthy activity. And garden-fresh food is probably the best stuff!

    And if someone had to go back to growing all their own food, it would be pretty tough, but already having an understanding of the basics could be a huge step up from having to learn from scratch. And gardening is an easily acquirable skill set at that. 

  20. A number of years ago my sister in law’s father was a legend in the town he lived in. He grew bucket loads of tomatoes and sold them and gave them away. It was his hobby, the thing that gave his life meaning, the thing that made him “special”. Everybody ranted about these tomatoes. “Home grown”, “so much healthier than the garbage you buy in the store”, “none of that crap that commercial farmers put on their crops”, “locally grown and sourced”.

    However, I talked to him. His secret was miracle grow, and round up. He sprayed these guys with it by the bucketful.

    I laughed at the irony every time I heard someone rant about those damn tomatoes.

    To me the word “organic” means “grown in cow poop” which doesn’t sound quite so appealing.

     

  21. However, I talked to him. His secret was miracle grow, and round up. He sprayed these guys with it by the bucketful.

    I laughed at the irony every time I heard someone rant about those damn tomatoes.

    Exactly. That’s the problem when you don’t grow your own. Even buying at the local farmer’s market / local farmer presents risk; you have no idea what you’re eating other than taking him at his word.

  22. “And if someone had to go back to growing all their own food, it would be pretty tough.”

    This is true, I suggest having at least 1 “basic” type of skill you’re good at and can market even in the SHTF post-apocalypse. With my enginering degree, I have advanced DIY/building/repair skills and enjoy it.

    Personally, I hate gardening and landscaping, so selling my building skills will back me up during an off-chance we all had to go back to growing food.

    Caleb, if we go back to ripping potatoes out of the ground with our hands… I’ll gladly make some tools for some of those potatoes!

  23. Steve Solomon’s books ‘The Intelligent Gardener’ and “Gardening When It Counts’ are two of the best gardening books I’ve read out of hundreds. In the first one, he describes how to get your soil tested, and then balance the mineral component of the soil for better growth and nutrition. In the second, he examines of the SP of current gardening lore and explains why it may not be the best option.

    I’ve been gardening for decades. My advice would be to start small, like a the size of a twin bed small and grow from there. Start with whatever vegetables you really enjoy eating and get the seeds/plants from a supplier that is in the same climate as you. Territorial Seeds may be good for your area.

    Regarding growing your own food in a survival situation, getting the knowledge and skill before anything bad happens is wise. It will help you figure out how much square footage you’ll need, probably in the 3,000 sq foot range, which is a lot of garden. And, you may have to defend it if things are bad enough. You might think of supplementing your survival garden by buying extra canned goods. Just buy a few extra cans every time you buy groceries. In a few months you’ll build up a decent amount of food that you already eat and enjoy.

  24. Some of you guys mentioned veganism. You can still be vegan and eat unhealthy food. The only diet that’s been proven to have a long-term positive impact on your health is a whole-foods plant based diet. Just look it up, it can change your life.

    Remember, it’s not always about NOT eating a specific type of food, it’s all about opportunity cost. If you eat unhealthy food, there’s a high chance you’ll be missing out on really healthy food.

    If you apply “first principles” thinking, with this type of diet (which is more of a lifestyle), you just can’t fail. For example, let’s say you really like stake….What do you actually like about it? Do you think the meat in itself has any taste if it weren’t for the spices and the frying? Definitely not! What you like is the umami taste..which you can get from so many sources, then why choose a source that’s definitely not healthy?

    Now take beans and lentils (which are one of the healthiest things you can eat), add the right spices, make a patty and bake / air fry it! Combine it with some avocado spread and/or some tahini-chilly sauce, replace the white bread with whole-wheat bread and you’re good to go. I promise you will think it’s the most amazing burger you ever ate.

    So it’s all about analyzing the dishes you actually enjoy eating and then trying to add even more healthy stuff to it that still fits the recipe. That’s where each of us is unique..we’ve all learned to like some food combos and dislike others. However, what is healthy for most of us is pretty much a constant.

    Eating whole-foods will actually change the way you perceive taste anyways and you will slowly introduce more and more healthy ingredients you never would have imagined yourself eating.

    I know this sounds more like a cookbook than a piece of advice 😀 . Look up Dr Greger and NutritionFacts.org and you’ll see what I’m talking about. It’s all backed by science! And please don’t give me the “there’s just as many studies proving the opposite” bullshit since that just isn’t true. If you ever read an actual scientific study, not the stuff posted by “sensational” click-bait blogs, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

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