"Be Empowered, Grow and Secure Your Own Food" is the motto of my company GrowAsis Urban Garden Consulting, Inc..  As a Chicago urban gardener, I live this motto when I cultivate and consume my homegrown vegetables.  GrowAsis clients, patrons and may be even you the reader cannot fathom demonstrating in the realm of this motto.  In times when the commercial food industry is dominant, tax hikes give no avail, and health issues seem insurmountable it is understandable. Being empowered to grow and maintain food are ways to combat those obstacles and part one of this week's blog piece will explain how it can be done.

          Truly being food secure is a huge component to growing and maintaining your own food.  It entails having complete access to fresh organic food at all times, inexpensive ways of eating it and having it immediately within your reach.  Here are some ways you can take advantage of these to help you be truly food secure.

Complete Access to Fresh Organic Food at All Times

          Build, grow and eat from your personal home vegetable garden.   Harvesting produce immediately outside your back door is true access to fresh food and it is quicker than fast food restaurant service.  You can also support seasonal and or year round farmers markets like the Healthy Food Hub in Chicago's South Shore Community to gain food access.   Patronizing farmers markets frequently allows you to learn when certain vegetables and fruits are in season for eating; it builds a relationship with the growers whom supply your food when you need it.  A personal vegetable garden and produce from farmers markets are valuable assets to have access to fresh organic food at all times.   

Inexpensive Ways of Eating Fresh Food

          Explore frugal and sustainable ways to start your own vegetable seedlings with household items such as newspaper or toilet paper rolls.  Using these methods are environmentally friendly means to cultivate vegetables which help the earth and your wallet.  Check out this video clip on my sustainable seed starting workshop on how to make newspaper pots.   Also, you may find it benificial to barter with other gardeners to trade vegetables and seeds.  Bartering creates a meaningful reciprocal relationship with your fellow gardeners... not expensive grocery stores.  Remember, eating fresh food does not mean it has to be financially out of your reach.

Food within Your Reach in a Radius Less than 100 Miles

          Food is considered local if it is within a 100 miles radius; traveling 100 miles for food is not local or convenient for us urban dwellers.  Try regrowing vegetables you buy at the store or farmers market to avoid unnecessary traveling for nutritious food.  Reusing commonly used vegetables such as onions, lettuce, and celery is an excellent and sustainable way of growing food right in your home; check out DIY & Crafts.com for instructions on how to regrow scaps.  Making an indoor container garden is another easy and convenient way to have fresh food at your fingertips.  This kind of gardening prevents weeds and outdoor pest issues, reduces air pollution as well as provides a personal in-home produce store.  Regrowing and cultivating your vegetables indoors is a good way to truly be food secure.   

What Do You Say?

What are your thoughts on being empowered to grow and secure your own food?  Are these suggested methods feasible to you?  What are some ways you are growing and securing your own food in urban areas like Chicago?