Food Security in these uncertain times

Try to find seeds for your garden right now and you may be out of luck for a while. Seed companies have been taking so many orders some have either sold out of supplies or stopped taking any more orders due to the increased volume due to the pandemic. The pandemic with the current Stay-At-Home orders in place in most states has made many Americans sit up and take notice of some of their vulnerabilities. We’ve always taken some things for granted, our freedoms, to go to the store whenever we want or a restaurant with friends and family. But now our freedom has been put on hold temporarily and Americans are left wondering for how much longer and is there anything that we can do to feel a little bit more in control during our quarantine.

The pandemic pantry became a ‘thing’ recently, many realizing that they don’t have enough food in their cupboards for even a long weekend let alone. We are so accustomed to two day delivery or two-hour depending upon where we live. Conveniences put on hold right now. A trip to the grocery store initially met with empty shelves s few weeks ago, has been replaced by having to “mask up” and enter a scene from a Stephen King novel to stock up on the perishables needed. Perhaps I should build a barn an get some chickens and cow so we can have milk and eggs without having to go to the store.

Tower Garden HOME with lettuce, basil, broccoli and cauliflower growing

We set up our new Tower Garden HOME system in the end of January, something we had been planning to do pre-pandemic. We live 1500 ft up on the side of a mountain and have become accustomed to not being able to always go out and get supplies. If anything the last four winters have taught us is how to stock up and be able to live months on end without having to go down the mountain. Since spring is just an extension of a mild winter up here and outdoor gardening can’t even be considered until mid-May, the idea of being able to grow some greens indoors all year long became very appealing. We have grown indoors before but when we moved up to New Hampshire , we weren’t set up for it until recently.

The idea of being able to grow fresh greens throughout the year has been a goal of ours since we moved up here, so I was thrilled when Tower garden came out with it’s new HOME unit. One thing our mountain life has taught us is to be prepared for anything. We know we can’t always run out to the store to get groceries because there is too much snow or the road is really muddy and it would be better not to drive up and down it. We work from our house so we are used to be up here for weeks sometimes without seeing anyone but perhaps our UPS and FEDEX delivery guys.

It’s the small things sometimes that help you through the rough times. Being able to see the fresh lettuce herbs and other vegetables we since added to the Tower Garden has been a mental boost for me. Mental boosts I found are few and far between right now. It’s been a cold, snowy spring up here despite the snows having all melted or no longer sticking to the ground , the garden is still too cold to work in thanks to the wicked winds we’ve had too just makes being outside unpleasant. One thing we have come to realize throughout this epidemic is that we need to continue to grow our own food and we plan on growing more in grow bags and add another bed.

It’s been a comfort being able to go to the pantry and open a jar of tomato sauce from the harvest of 2018 when we put up some 30 gallons of tomato sauce. The kids being able to enjoy homemade salsa from last summer’s harvests has made getting through meal and snack times a reason to smile since I know there are many more jars in the pantry which is sate our bellies. Homemade food is the best comfort food there is – particularly during a pandemic.

Eight years ago, Mark and I started Homegrown Harvest in response to the Great Recession following the 2008 financial crisis. We had both always loved to garden but we saw the need to help others learn that growing some of your own food doesn’t have to be as difficult as most people this it is. We focused our online store with simple solutions for gardeners of every level. Growing some of your own food does not need to be difficult, there are solutions out there to make growing easy and simple which is a lot more fun than thinking you have to take care of some huge vegetable patch.

Many are quick to say it’s too hard, it takes too much time, I don’t have the space or it will probably cost too much money, but claim they’ve always wanted a garden. One of the biggest misconceptions is the space you need or perhaps you live in an urban environment and don’t think you have the capability to grow some of your own produce. Even if you have one small container in a window, there are plenty of things you can grow indoors. Greens are super easy to grow indoors and microgreens and sprouts are even easier and quicker and even more nutritious.

In these uncertain times, I take comfort in knowing that in a few short weeks, I’ll be able to enjoy more bountiful harvests from our indoor garden. We may still be under the Stay-At-Home orders at that time but being able to do that or walk out to our garden and work towards future harvests knowing that we are not as dependent on running out to the store and that we won’t have to “mask up” in order to get it some fresh produce.

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