Gardening · Homesteading · Prepping · Urban Homesteading

Teach Them To Grow Food: But Then They Don’t

Thoughts from the prepper/self-sufficient corner of my mind.

When I look back at the year that has passed by, one thing that really saddens me was the time I spent in trying to get others to be better prepared. I had good intentions for sure, and I had many hopes about it. Last year at this time I was on a high about it. We were going to change our area locally, I truly believed.

But let us slide back in time to explain it, and how it all went.

It was mid-2021 and people were very nervous about supply chains (which are even worse now) and inflation was just starting up. Our island has been a flaming dumpster fire since March of 2020, While other areas of the United States have no supply chain issues, our grocery stores are constantly barely stocked. Barren shelves are the norm for us, going into the 3rd year. Prices go up weekly. We are not average for sure.

Knowing many people who are similar in mind locally, a small group of us set out to help others grow food. Not by doing it for them, but rather educating them. All of us had experience in growing food, working in agriculture and other similar backgrounds.

As part of the group, I worked on monthly what to do lists, who to buy seeds from, and very detailed methods of when to plant, what to plant, and how much to plant. I hosted a well attended seed swap, with people excitedly chatting about their garden plans come spring and summer of 2022.

We had so many people say they wanted to grow food. They showed up. They took flyers, took seeds, and listened. They talked.

And then the majority did nothing.

I should not have been shocked though. I let my excitement get to me, and I wanted to believe that everyone would become (more) self-sufficient. That they would have the same level of drive as I and the other teachers do in planning and prepping. That they would take supply chains and inflation seriously. That they wanted to eat healthy, and have access to clean food.

Instead we got apathy and laziness.

For it was great to fantasize about, but in reality they “were too busy” to do it. They lost their excitement quickly.

I knew that partly this came out of the year we had in 2022. For what boded to be a good year, turned hard after Tonga the volcano blew in early 2022. It left us with a long winter, no spring and an early cold summer. Days were dark, with the UV Index low. It was just….darker than normal. It reminded me of when I was 7 and the winter after Mt. St. Helens blew upriver from us.

Tonga definitely had a hand in how hard it was to grow food last year. It was a very trying year, but I learned new ways and methods – and shared them. Like how to deal when you can’t plant your tomatoes till mid June outside!

I was in some ways very sad because I had opened up what I do to people – and they saw how we did our work. Coming from a prepper background this left me nervous in ways. The people who didn’t want to do the work, they knew where food was growing. But I also realized that in the end, that was OK, as we have run our farm/homestead rather openly.

But there was a light in it all. A few stuck with it. And those people really stuck to it. They worked hard. So very hard. They asked questions, looked for advice, and worked daily on it. And it wasn’t the people you expected it to be either. One was a retiree who uses a walker. Who only has a small patio to grow on. Yet, they grew food on it! They cared enough and had the drive to do it.

This year even the library system got into promoting homesteading and gardening. Someone pays attention at the end of the day.

This year we started again, but I have to admit I am very jaded over it. It’s hard to give energy to people who take, but then squander that energy. For I know my energy is better given to my land, to my crops, to my animals.

But then….my fortune cookie told me I should. I found it interesting how dialed in that advice was. 

But I will continue to teach, because maybe 1 or 2 will listen, they will learn. And maybe will become better in it! And maybe 1 of them will join the teachers, and find their 1 person to teach.

Because as disappointing as it was, I won’t give up.

Because this is my motto. It is what I live by.

Seeds are everything. They hold your future. Treasure them. Grow them.