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Food Freedom: What You Can Do In January

Remember this time last year, before? Before the bare grocery shelves, the buying limits, the mask mandates? Remember before a lot of weird realities set in, and people were getting into bar fights in supermarkets over toilet paper? Yikes. A lot of people I know were not prepared for the idea that everything they need or desired was no longer at their finger tips.

We were not without effect from this change. Seed companies soon sold out, canning supplies were harder to find than a black cat in a coal cellar, and if you wanted yeast for bread, you had best camp out in the baking isle 24/7. All of those things disrupted us, but we still had plenty of meat and veg around. Our sales grew astronomically as meat plants shut down and the supply chain kinked.

So, as cringe-worthy as this saying is now, with 2020 being hindsight, what will you do to ensure you're taken care of whether the grocery shelves are abundant or not? It's January, there isn't much you can do, right? Not so! January is the perfect time to start planning your year of food freedom, as well as launch a few side projects for short-term gratification.

First, what do you want to achieve? A small garden patch? An all local food chain? Putting homegrown meat in the freezer? Choose a goal, or several(don't forget you can always take baby steps) and start at the beginning.

For the garden, you'll want to scout the perfect spot. This can look like a patio with tower style planters, or it can look like a vacant lot you inquire about renting. If you have a large yard or acreage, even better! A garden can cost as much or as little as you need. You can borrow a tiller, scavenge boxes & woodchips from the neighborhood, or get a few pigs to turn the soil(and then you grow bacon, too!) I highly recommend checking out any of the old grow-your-own propaganda posters, they are from a time where it wasn't illegal anywhere to raise chickens or harvest rainwater.

If you're looking to source as much food locally as possible, do an online search in your area for each food group (dairy, grain, veg, beef, pork, poultry) and start making lists of farmers to email, and markets to attend.

Is homegrown meat calling your name, but the thought of carrying out the deed straining your heart strings? Take a butchering class or hire out the process to a local homesteader or farmer. There are so many options for this! The important thing is, you take things into your own realm of control.

For those looking for near instant gratification, start some seeds (cold hardy ones like lettuce, brassicas, and radishes), grab some flour & water to start your own sour dough, or get into microgreens! All easy, doable, January blues cures. It's also time to buy seeds, order chicks, and learn some food preservation techniques before the season truly begins. Celebrate your food freedoms every month of the year, and check back here in two weeks for our February freedom check!

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