Inspiration: See how this couple asserts their food independence

While anyone can become food independent, you need to keep in mind that this requires a lot of hard work. Food independence is a good way to ensure that your diet is free of harmful genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Kelli and John from The Sustainable Couple practice food independence, and they shared some tips to help you on your journey to a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle.

  • Grow your own food. If you don’t know which vegetables to plant first, come up with a list of veggies that you frequently use in your daily meals. Once you get the hang of maintaining a home garden, try to plant a new vegetable so you can harvest a variation of produce.
  • Keep backyard chickens. Aside from being a source of fresh eggs, backyard chickens can help get rid of your kitchen scraps. They can also help fertilize your lawn with their constant scratching and pecking.
  • Compost. Put the rest of your kitchen scraps in a compost heap, which can help keep your garden fertilized. Don’t forget to stir your compost occasionally once or twice a season. With compost, you can look forward to fresher greens come spring.
  • Collect rainwater. Any garden will always require water, and rainwater is one way to ensure that you have access to water even if you experience droughts. Consider adding several barrels that can be filled with rainwater.
  • Incorporate edible landscaping and container gardens in your yard. Edible landscaping doesn’t have to be complicated. Kelli shares that it can be as simple as surrounding a tree in your backyard with some leaf lettuce or herbs. You can also keep potted herbs on your front porch instead of flowers.
  • Try bartering. For the things that you can’t grow in your backyard, barter with other individuals. Bartering benefits both you and the other party, and best of all, it’s free. It can also enable you and other people to be more food independent. (Related: Take charge of your own life: The first steps to Food Independence.)
  • Shop locally or at farmers’ markets. For food items that aren’t easy to grow or cook on your own, visit the local farmers’ market. You can also shop locally, which means you can enjoy fair prices and the convenience of a closer shopping location.
  • Preserve food. If you have a surplus of produce, you can also try your hand at preserving them. Preserved food can keep your pantry stocked during fall and winter, and they’re also the perfect personalized gifts for family and friends. If you have access to fresh tomato sauce, jams, or jellies, you won’t have to set foot in a store.
  • Share your surplus. If you’ve eaten and preserved more produce than you know what to do with, share them with family, friends, and even strangers. Never let anything rot and go to waste in your garden. Instead, give them away to whoever needs them. You can also contribute your excess preserves to local food banks that will accept produce donations.
  • Collaborate with other food independent individuals. If you know other people who maintain larger gardens than you do, collaborate with them. You can grow an excess of produce on your farm, and you can trade with them so you have access to vegetables that are harder to grow if you only have space for a little garden.
  • Practice alternative therapies. Eating the right kinds of food can significantly improve your health. By asserting your food independence, you’ll soon find that you’re following a much healthier lifestyle.

Gardening tips for beginners

If the list above sounds daunting, here are some simpler gardening tips that you can try for yourself:

  • Cultivate “easy” plants first. While gardening seems fun, make sure that you start small so you don’t get overwhelmed.
  • Plan your garden. Always plan accordingly so you don’t run out of space in your garden.
  • Keep a notebook. A journal will help you stay organized, and you can use it to track your garden activity or take notes on interesting plants that you want to grow in your home garden.

For more tips on how to gain food independence and food sustainability, visit

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