13 Simple Ways to Eat Your Yard and Build Food Security

by Todd Walker

In the March Against Monsanto, millions of people peacefully took to the streets in protest over our unhealthy (being kind here) Industrial Food Machine operated by the little man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz. The switches, pulleys, and levers are connected to BigFarma, BigPharma, corrupt politicians, main stream media, and our protected predator class.

Monsanto’s ‘man’ behind the curtain is busy pulling levers that rabidly promote the un-scientific fact that eating GMO’s has little ill effect on human health. What they’re really trying to say is you can pick up a turd by the clean end. Crass but true.

Genetically Modified Organisms should be avoided at all costs. But how can you ensure a safe food supply for your family? You don’t have 40 acres and a mule. You live in a neighborhood with quarter acre lots. You may have never grown a garden in your life. How in the world can you produce even a small amount of real food that’s safe to eat?

There’s a movement gaining momentum around the world. The idea is to make your home as resilient as possible. Having multiple backup systems gives you options when things go wrong. And things always go south with the fragile systems that run our houses. When the lights went out on our farm where I grew up, my daddy was famous for saying, “Bob’s dog must have peed on the power pole again.”

Our industrial food system is no different. Since the end of World War II, our system of food production shifted from small local farming outfits to mega farmzillas. We use to know where our food came from because we produced most of what we ate for ourselves. Following jobs into the city, producing our own food has become a lost skill.

Step by step, we’ve lost (or forgotten) our independent nature.

Building resilience into your food system may seem daunting. It’s not. You just have to start. Maybe you could start eating your yard.

Here are 13 ways to that you can grow food, not lawns.

Creative container gardening

EarthTainers, containers for growing tomatoes,

We grew peppers and tomatoes from four EarthTainers with great results

  • Five gallon buckets of low hanging fruit.
hanging bucket tomato plants, five gallon bucket planter

More tomatoes hanging around

  • You can also set these on the ground, wrap them in burlap, and make them easier on the eye in the front yard.
burlap wrapped bucket planters, 5 gallon bucket planter,

Plastic buckets are cheaper than pots. Dress them up for the front yard with burlap and twine.

  • Vertical gardens. There are many ways to get creative for space limited yards. Grow up if you can’t grow out. 

  • For more ideas on growing up, get your mind (and salad) in the gutter here
  • An innovative way to grow 50 plants + composting in four square feet!
  • The base of the garden tower below measures 27½ inches on each side. Four 63-inch long cedar boards are attached to a central six-foot cedar post to form the pyramidal framework.

Photo of strawberry tower

Grow food, not lawns

Foodscaping is landscaping with food. Are your boxwoods under the eve of your house edible? Didn’t think so.

I pruned our ornamental hedges yesterday to make room for plants DRG and I can eat.

Pruning this pile of un-edible plants to make room for yard food.

Pruning this pile of un-edible plants to make room for yard food.

  • In Bloom Where You’re Planted, I shared an amazing couple’s foodscaped front yard. Some of us can’t get away with this kind of ‘radical’ foodscaping. The time is coming when front yards will have to be utilized for food production. Might as well test your green thumb before you have to rely on your garden in bad times.
  • Worried about the food police and your nosy neighbor ratting you out. Give your front yard curb appeal by blending edibles into your front yard. Julie Chai’s article over at Sunset shows you how to make traditional backyard garden crops look good out front. Some of the favorites mentioned are:

    “Artichoke. ‘Violetto’―especially when interplanted with large pink cosmos.

    Basil. ‘Purple Ruffles’ and ‘Green Ruffles’ basil, with their unusual, frilly leaves.

    Chives. With thin, grasslike foliage and pink flowers, they look great in or out of bloom.

    Japanese red mustard. Large burgundy-colored leaves are very dramatic.

    Kale. ‘Russian Red’, for greenish purple color and oaklike leaves.

    Lettuce. ‘Black-Seeded Simpson’, ‘Red Oak Leaf’, and ‘Royal Oak Leaf’ lettuce.

    Peas. ‘Dwarf Gray Sugar’ is compact and has showy lavender and maroon flowers.

    Peppers. ‘Super Chili’ (peppers change from green to orange to red) and ‘Golden Bell’.

    Swiss chard. ‘Bright Lights’, for its many colors, including orange, pink, red, and yellow.”

Wild foods

Learn now how to utilize all those weeds growing in your yard and waste places. Be cautious and avoid weedy area that have been treated with pesticides and herbicides.

All these crops can be grown from heirloom seeds and plants and not genetically modified versions. I hope you see the merit in this approach.

What’s your thoughts on building food security? Do you have a hobby farm? We’d like to hear about it.

Keep doing the stuff!

Categories: Food Storage, Gardening, Permaculture, Real Food, Resilience, Wildcrafting | Tags: , , , , , | 17 Comments

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17 thoughts on “13 Simple Ways to Eat Your Yard and Build Food Security

  1. keithadams60

    Thanks for the info. I have been recently trying to figure out ways to grow some food in my apartment, and you have definitely given me some ideas.


  2. Well written Sherpa! I tried vertical gardens and it is really productive. I also have an herb garden in my window box.


  3. Hi Todd,

    We have all heard about “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” but have you heard of “Post-Traumatic Growth”? Likely not, unless you have read “Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Learn how to be like Hydra not like Damocles when the “black swan” hits the fan!

    I think you might enjoy this book and the ideas within.


    • Just ordered it, Caroline. The review looked like a fit for our mindset. Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll let you know what I think about it.

      Dirt Road Girl is a shinning example of “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Thanks again for sharing. I love your line “when the black swan hits the fan!” Sounds like I’m gonna have to steal this from you for a future blog post 🙂 Crediting you, of course.

      Summer officially starts for us Thursday. We’re excited about our direction!


    • Caroline, I looked at that book and the Black Swan book on Amazon. I will likely get to read them in the slow months of winter. I also wanted to thank you for one of your posts in which you refer to another author (Sharon Astyk) who encourages reader to “Plant, harvest and preserve something as many days of the year as possible.” That is my daily goal! Thanks for the inspiration and passing on the encouragement. I’ve started keeping a daily record of everything that I do in the gardens (and I am notoriously bad at keeping records) but I realize how very important this work is and so I have been faithful in doing it daily.


  4. “Step by step, we’ve lost (or forgotten) our independent nature.”

    This is (sadly) very true. I think your “adding food security” approach is a great way to regain much of our lost independence, and I’d add that for most, losing dependence on their jobs and careers is a huge step as well, by getting rid of debt and cutting as many expenses as possible.

    Good stuff!


    • Every step towards self-sufficiency, however small, is one step towards starving the beast and living Sherpa simple.

      Thanks for your input here, Josh!


  5. The more we grow ourselves the less of the crap we have to buy…way to go!


  6. Pingback: 13 Simple Ways to Eat Your Yard and Build Food Security | thesurvivalplaceblog

  7. Great post Todd! Even city dwellers don’t have an excuse for growing their own food after some of the suggestions here 😉

    I also know of this site: http://4squaregardening.ca/ which offers complete kits for growing vegetables in small areas in fun themes like salsa, stir fry, salad and more.

    Whatever the method people should definitely be getting proactive about growing their own food.


    • You’re right, Jake. Every step we take to provide our own food, no matter how small, is a step closer to building resilient life.

      Thanks for the comment and link!

      Hope your new blog is going well!


  8. BLYSS chocolate

    Great ideas. Well done. Love those low hanging tomatoes !


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