Food Freedom- A Year of Growing and Foraging 100% of My Food
Announcing my next big project!
For one year I will grow and forage 100% of my food, while living in the urban city of Orlando, Florida. Every single morsel of food, down to the salt, oils, and herbs will come from the land and I will harvest it myself. I will go an entire year without eating food from grocery stores (including the dumpsters), restaurants, or even taking a nibble of chocolate or a sip of tea at a party.
I personally have never met a human who is doing this, even in my travels through rural regions in dozens of countries and nearly every state in the USA. I know they are out there, but because of the far reaches of our globalized food system, they aren’t common. This is my quest to see if it can be done. I am going to struggle, I am sure of this. I won’t have land of my own, which will mean farming unused front yards, guerrilla planting in abandoned lots, foraging for wild plants, and possibly fishing. I will be learning an incredible amount about growing food, wild foraging, food preservation, renewable energy for cooking, utilization of waste and more, and I’ll share much of it with you.
But ultimately this mission really isn’t about my quest to produce 100% of my food. Those who know me, know that I embark on extreme tasks to bring attention to important issues and affect change. Our globalized food system is in crisis and is destroying life on Earth through factory farming of animals, monocrop production of grains, wasting one third of food globally, burning massive amounts of fossil fuels, degradation of soil, and extinction of species. Common sense says this can’t go on forever. Through my journey, I will share how people and communities across the nation are taking back power from Big Ag and gaining food freedom by growing their own food. By taking it to the extreme of 100% my hopes are to inspire people to turn their lawns into gardens, to grow food in containers on their balconies, to plant herbs on their windowsill, to start community gardens, to connect with their food, to source food locally, and to share food with their neighbors. We can’t all do 100%, but we can all do a little.
I don’t just want to survive, and I don’t want to be a burden on humanity or Earth. Rather, my mission is to produce far more food than I can eat and to share with others in my community and enable thousands of people to grow their own food. There is already a grow your own food revolution spreading across the nation and I intend to contribute to that movement.
Today begins my six months of preparation. The year will officially start around the beginning of summer. The exact date will be decided based on how the next six months go. If all this wasn’t going to be hard enough, I may be vastly underestimating my addiction to dark chocolate bars. I’m up for the challenge though and I’m excited to have you all along for the ride with me!
UPDATE: The year will start in November 2018 and go through October 2019.
09/10/2018 update: The original plan was to start the year of Food Freedom in June. I have decided to push the start date back to November. Early on in my preparation I dove deep into the other aspect of Food Freedom, which is empowering and helping others to grow their own food. I launched Gardens for Single Moms, Free Seed Project and Community Fruit Trees since arriving in Orlando. My team and I built five gardens for single moms in my neighborhood, sent out 2,000 free organic garden starter kits, and planted over 100 Community Fruit Trees. I have also done five gardening for beginners’ classes for my community in one of my gardens. Because of these initiatives I have put less time into the preparation to grow and forage 100% of my food. However, the whole purpose of this project is to help thousands of people across the world to gain independence from the industrial, globalized food system and to achieve greater levels of happiness, health, and sustainability. I’m off to a great start there!
I am very well set to begin my year in early November. For the last nine months I have been in the preparation stage – visiting farms and gardens, talking to dozens of food growers, reading, researching and figuring out the many logistics of meeting all of my food needs for an entire year. It’s hard to remember what I didn’t know when I started, but I can say for certain that I am substantially more knowledgeable about growing food today.
I have planted food in five different yards in the neighborhood. Just four months into the project, I was already at the point of being overwhelmed with having TOO MUCH food on many days. Many neighbors come to my garden to harvest food and I’m often sending guests home with armloads of food. The hot summer is off-time in Orlando, so I’ve taken the last few months mostly off of gardening. In mid-September I will begin my fall garden, which will set me in the right place to officially begin in November. I have over one hundred Seminole Pumpkins harvested and sitting on the shelf and one hundred pounds of foraged fruit in my freezer, so I will be starting off on day one with a substantial amount of food.
I am eager to officially begin the project and share the endeavor with you all.