It’s the dream of millions of people: To live off the land and to never need to make a trip to the grocery store. But for nearly everyone with that dream, it’s just that — a dream. Our current global, industrial food system is just too convenient and easy to resist. Our modern lives are too busy and monetized to go that far back to the land.
I’ve been exploring food for nearly a decade and since the beginning, I’ve had the burning question: Would it be possible to produce 100% of my own food in the times we live in? Could I exist without grocery stores and restaurants? Nothing packaged or processed? Nothing shipped from far-off lands? Could I grow and forage everything I ate for an entire year?
That’s the question that I set out to answer just over a year ago. One big thing though: I didn’t have a farm or even a house with a front yard. All I had was a backpack and I didn’t have much growing experience, either. You could say I was jumping off the deep end.
I chose to do this in Florida for the year-round growing season and the local “grow-your-own” movement I had stumbled across while traveling through a few years prior. I quickly got to work, meeting people in my neighborhood and proposing that I turn their lawns into gardens. It wasn’t hard to find takers. I’d cover all the costs, do pretty much all the work and they could eat as much food as they’d like. What’s not to love about that deal?