I spent the last few years researching foods native and historically grown in this area, as well as newer crops most suited to growing here, and for hand cultivation. Last year we took the plunge, and did 4 gardens, totaling more than an acre. We grew enough to, for all practical purposes, take ourselves off of the food grid. This was done in the evenings and on weekends. Enough food for a family of 5, for more than a year, and tons we gave away as well. There were dry corns for flour, potatoes, carrots and squashes that store well enough to simply be left in the basement for the winter, beets and fruits we pickled, tons of red sauce and canned tomatoes, and a house full of other things. At the end of the summer we took a few deer that had been raiding the garden at my parents, and that topped off our freezers. Our food bill, since July, has been 4 gallons of milk, 2 pounds of butter, and about 18 eggs a week. At the beginning of December that was $12 a week. Now it runs close to $20 for the same things and only 12 weeks have passed. We cannot insulate ourselves from all inflation, but at least on food we could live without what we would have to buy.
This summer we are even doing more. We did a large garden at a friend's home west of us. Over the course of the summer they took great interest in it, and how much it produced with fairly minimal care. I sat down with them this winter, and plotted out what they would like to do this year, which involved doubling the regular part of the garden, and doing more than an acre in flour and flint corn.
We are greatly looking forward to another year of staying off the food grid and enjoying our time outside, and happy to share the whole experience with anyone who wants to tag along!