Once you have decided to grow your own food, there are a few different directions you might go in as far as first steps are concerned. In my opinion, before you start looking at seed catalogs or sketching out where to plant what, consider speaking with gardeners and/or farmers who live nearby; they may very well be the best resource you will find for getting started and successfully growing your own food. Try doing a google search for gardeners near you or organizations which work to promote local food sourcing and healthy eating. Discovering other gardeners near where you live can help you visualize what you might be able to create in your own garden, demonstrate what types of food grow well, and provide you with a great source of advice (and often free seeds or maybe even some used tools and a helping hand!) Finding organizations which promote local, healthy, organic food will connect you with other like-minded people nearby and may provide new inspiration for growing food (such as teaching local kids about farming or donating extra produce to a food bank or soup kitchen). Another good first step? Visit your local farmer´s market. There you will find lots of local farmers, inspiration for growing your own food, and additionally, lots of potted herbs and vegetables which you might consider replanting in your own garden – a great way to get started, especially for beginners.
Don´t have a lot of space or time to commit to planning and/or managing a garden plot? Consider planting a container garden or renting a community garden plot. Container gardening can be as easy as picking up a few herbs or tomato plants from your local nursery or farmer´s market, buying a good potting mix and compost, and putting the two together in a pot, whereas gardening in a community space can be a great way to connect with your community and get advice on how to get started.
Interested in working on a small farm before you attempt to grow your own food at home? Consider joining World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF), an awesome organization which will connect you to thousands of other farmers around the globe. Through WWOOF, you as an interested (but generally inexperienced farmer) volunteer your time in exchange for food and lodging at farms all over the world. If you don´t have full-time hours to commit, local farmers (connected with WWOOF or not) are always eager for helping hands and can show you the ropes for getting started in the art and lifestyle of growing food.
Have more space and/or time to commit to your new food gardening project? Check out the vegetable patch for lots of advice on how to get started, where to position your garden, and how to compost your food and yard scraps. Also check out my previous blog on how to start seeds, especially for larger garden/farm projects.
While deciding to start your own food garden may seem like a daunting task, there are countless resources out there to help get you started – take advantage! As not to overwhelm I´ll leave you with the resources listed above and wish you the best… good luck, and get growing!