Permaculture Gardening For Food Security
Since early 2020, just about the entire world has been through one major media-reported crisis after another. The stories now are of course around Russia and Ukraine, but there are also a lot of articles coming out about impending shortages in the food supply. In this article, I make a case for incorporating permaculture gardening into your lifestyle.
The blocking of truck deliveries across borders, the delay of ships off major ports, the tripling of materials and shipping costs, American energy independence gone, and the trucking industry protests in Canada and the USA all contribute to forward-thinking concerns about the supply of food.
A friend sent me this photo from downtown Los Angeles, California. I’ve already noticed that my local grocery store has had sparsely-stocked shelves two or three times in the last two months!
The Rockefeller Foundation released a report in February calling to defund farms and ranches and centralize control of the food supply of the globe. In a ‘messaging guide’ for the report, the foundation states that “one of the consistent needs expressed by those seeking to transform the food system is a shared narrative.” IMHO, globalist entities shouldn’t be granted solitary control over anything, so hopefully the Rockefellers aren’t successful in defunding farmers and ranchers!
In the meantime, We the People can (and should) prepare our own resilient systems of food production that WE control, rather than some outside entity. If peaceful trucker protests against forced injection in Canada resulted in frozen bank accounts, then perhaps permaculture gardening ahead of any food crisis will assure food sovereignity if the planet’s food supply is taken over.
What Is Permaculture Gardening?
Most folks tend to think of gardening as a few raised beds somewhere in their yard. I say this because almost everyone who has approached me to request garden space design has said so. I always offer an expanded view and try to open them to additional options they might not have thought of. If your soil is bad and you lack the time window before you plant or have other reasons you can’t focus on building up your soil, raised beds can allow you to get a crop in sooner than later. However, I advocate for including perennial edible plants and siting them in your landscape.
What do I mean by that? The word ‘garden’ conjures in most people’s minds a basket of delicious yellow tomatoes or an apron of freshly-picked basil. But many plant species have a more permanent life cycle than one season and can thus feed you for years into the future. While the traditional gardener heads back to the garden center or nursery year after year to procure seeds or starts, the permaculture gardener never has to buy another strawberry or spinach plant again! Not having to drive to the nursery each season saves gas as well as wear and tear on your vehicle. If you live on a dirt road like I do, this means something. This to my way of thinking is food security, and it can be done in just about anyone’s backyard.
Another strategy of permaculture gardening is to use edible plants as landscape plants. Why not bookend your entry walk with fragrant herbs? You can pinch off a sprig or two of rosemary or tarragon for tonight’s chicken or a veggie pizza. A semi-dwarf fruit tree can provide a shady spot to plunk a hammock or reading chair. I once rode a bicycle through a Davis, CA, park and plucked an enormous peach from overhead without breaking. It was delicious, hydrating, and left in my mind a seed of what is possible. You can use berry bushes rather than ornamental plants as a hedge between you and your neighbor, and these plants will offer food to both of you. Edibles in the landscape also tend to make for great conversation among guests who will delight at your ‘unconventional’ approach and wise stacking of functions.
Even annual edibles like lettuces or squash can add interest around a patio. Whether you choose to incorporate one or more of such techniques, your plants will leave you seeds to replant, and succession planting of seed in stages rather than all at once extends the growing season beyond one big harvest, too. Small moves like the ones I’ve mentioned will help you to add food resilience so you and your family have enough to eat if times continue along the path we’ve been walking since 2020. In a nutshell, permaculture gardening scales the principles of the design system known as permaculture to the backyard garden.
Try one or all of these strategies to start protecting your access to food, and let me know what worked and what you tried. To gain a comprehensive understanding and learn the full range of permaculture principles, you can take my permaculture farming course. For more on global-scale (and local) permaculture-based solutions in action, pre-order my book. I am available for permaculture master planning and diy consulting as well.