Food seems to be fairly important to most of us, so it makes sense to assure that we have a steady supply of it. Growing your own is the best solution. Supporting a local farmer is also excellent, particularly since that farmer can probably turn out a lot more, and a lot more variety, than you can.
We encourage people to have both home and neighborhood gardens. Your home gardening can be as simple as herbs, sprouts and a few tomatoes; or much more if you have the time and space. Community gardening benefits you from contact with your fellow neighbors as much as it does from the actual food itself.
What's the best way to grow and obtain food? That depends on you and where you live. We've tried to give you a wide variety of ideas here.
World's Healthiest Foods List, A-Z
Foods that are nutrient dense, whole, familiar, readily available, affordable, and taste good.
They're not just cute when they're young; they're food. Both chickens and rabbits require little space, and can be raised in most city (and certainly suburban) backyards. Your town may have ordinances allowing raising such animals for your own use. If they don't, that could change. Perhaps even faster if you push them.
Barnyard in Your Backyard
Beginner's guide to raising chickens, ducks, geese, rabbits, goats, sheep, and cows [book]
Beginner's Guide to Raising Chickens
Simple instructions for brooder preparation, unpacking mail-order chicks, treating chick health problems, moving poults into a hen yard, hen house options, flock management, how to spot common diseases and parasites and basic butchering methods [video].
Sources of natural chicken feed, knowledge about traditional ways of feeding chickens around the world and in old times, putting health before profit in raising and feeding chickens.
Chickens in Your Backyard
A beginner's guide [book]
How to Raise Day-Old Chicks in Your Backyard
With or without a mother hen
Tending small flocks in cities,suburbs, and other small spaces [book]
Living with Chickens
Everything you need to know to raise your own backyard flock [book]
Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens
Care, feeding and facilities [book]
Raising Rabbits for Fun and Food
A primer on backyard meat rabbit raising practices
Biodynamics is an agriculture system initiated by philosopher/scientist Rudolf Steiner in the 1920s. More than just organic, it seeks to work with and revitalize the life forces in the plants and soil.
Biodynamic Farming and Compost Preparation
Extensive information from the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service
Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association
What is Biodynamics?
From Biodynamic Agriculture Australia
What is Biodynamics?
A philosophical view.
Community gardens are shared plots within an urban or neighborhood setting. Gardeners share tools, knowledge and labor to produce food for themselves and others.
A Lot in Common
Video documentary on a community garden in Berkeley, California
American Community Garden Association (ACGA)
Non-profit organization for rural and urban gardening
Low-cost video on community gardening
Starting a Community Garden
Free fact sheet from the ACGA
How-to article on small and medium-sized depaving projects. Rip up concrete and turn the space into gardens.
Garden Your City
How to start an urban garden [book]
Organic Consumers Association
Campaigning for foodsafety, organic agriculture, fair trade and sustainability
RUAF Urban Agriculture Video
Dutch film on urban agriculture
Seattle P-Patch Community Gardens
Pioneer in city-sponsored community gardening
A leader in organic community gardening
Agricultural dowsing including remineralization
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
CSA farms are mutually supported by individuals and families. Through ongoing contracts, farmers delivery weekly food—usually organic—to homes. In turn, the farms receive ongoing financial support.
Greener than organic. BBC article
Farmers markets, family farms, CSAs, organic food
Robyn Van En Center
Offers services to existing and new CSA farmers and shareholders, including a database of U.S. CSA farms.
Composting your yard trimmings and other organic waste keeps it out of landfills and provides a nutrient-filled addition to the soil for your lawn and garden.
A complete guide to making compost
A list of products and services
How to Compost
Articles and links covering all topics about composting and organic gardening
Lots and lots of free information. Also online classes and ebooks.
Commercial product available from Real Goods
Sun Frost Scrap Eater
High-tech composter you can put on your deck as a flower pot
Out of necessity, rather than choice, Cuba has done some amazing things in the area of food production since 1989. When the Soviet Union collapsed in that year, Cuba lost its cheap oil and sugar subsidies. Without money and oil, and without tractor fuel, fertilizers and pesticides, it could no longer operate the highly-industrialized agricultural production that it had been conducting for several decades.
While voices in the organic wilderness had been calling for many years for Cuba to using organic farming methods, the Cuban government didn't hear those voices until all other options were closed. Then, it jumped on the organic bandwagon with full force. Today, Cuba is perhaps the only country in the world that practices organic, or semi-organic, farming.
For detailed information on food production in Cuba, as well as many other aspects of Beyond Peak life in Cuba, visit our Cuba page.
The key to food storage is lowering the temperature where the food is stored. You also want to minimize exposure to light and keep it in as dry (non-humid) an area as possible. Optimum food storage prolongs shelf life, nutritional value, taste, texture and color. Date all food containers—and ROTATE.
Prudent Food Storage FAQ
Excellent and very comprehensive information
Why shop for food when you can just pick it? Particularly when it's everywhere. Just make sure it's in an area that hasn't been sprayed. And that you're absolutely certain what you're picking to eat is totally safe.
A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants
North American edible plants - where to find them, when and how to gather them, and how to prepare them, by Bradford Angier [book]
Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West
Includes full color photographs of every plant in the book [book]
Feasting Free on Wild Edibles
Guide to North American edible plants. Includes more than 500 recipes. By Bradford Angier. [book]
Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants
in wild (and not so wild) places [book]
Illustrated Guide to Edible Wild Plants, The
Produced by the U.S. Army [book]
Neighborhood Forager, The
A guide for the wild food gourmet [book]
Stalking the Blue-Eyed Scallop
On the immense variety of seafoods available on the ocean's edge. By Euell Gibbons. Hundreds of recipes. [book]
Stalking the Wild Asparagus
The classic book on foraging for edible plants in the wild by Euell Gibbons. Includes hundreds of recipes. [book]
Wild Food Gourmet, The
Fresh and savory food from nature [book]
Growing your own food is essential for self-sufficiency. You receive as much food as you can grow, and you know how it has been grown. If you wish, you can grow organically, using non-hybrid "heirloom" seed, assuring that you get the healthiest and most nutritous food possible.
Acres U.S.A. Magazine
A voice for eco-agriculture
California Backyard Orchard, The
If you've got the room, grow your own fruits and nuts
Cascadia Food Not Lawns
Group of grassroot gardeners in Oregon. Good collection of articles and recommended books.
Organic vegetables from your home garden all year long
Garden Your City
Guide to raising flowers and vegetables in the city, including community gardens
Gardening Without Irrigation
Free online book but hardcopy is also available for purchase
How to Grow More Vegetables
And fruits, nuts, berries, grains and other crops than you ever thought possible on less land than you can imagine, by John Jeavons [book]
Very effective method of soil building
Lawns Into Lunch
Growing food in the city. Profiles 23 different gardeners. [book]
Lawns to Gardens
How to convert your lawn to your garden
Good information and resources
American Horticultural Society guide to Master Gardeners throughout the U.S. The gardeners provide free expert advice and training to home gardeners.
National Gardening Association
Very extensive information
From Artichokes to Zuiki Taro, A Gardener's Guide to Over 100 Delicious and Easy to Grow Edibles [book]
Square Foot Gardening
How would you like a garden filled with beautiful flowers, fresh herbs and luscious vegetables, but NO WEEDS and NO HARD WORK? - From the author of the book
Square Foot Gardening Video
Audio and video presentations
Sustainable Vegetable Garden, The
A backyard guide to healthy soil and higher yields [book]
You Grow Girl
Practical information in a friendly gardening site.
Hemp is a remarkable food. So remarkable in so many ways, that we've given hemp its own page.
Hydroponics is growing water without soil and goes back, at least, to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
Very comprehensive site on all aspects of hydroponics
Hydroponics and organics, including the free online "Hydro U." classes
Using herbs is more than just drinking herbal tea. Although that's an excellent way to take advantage of herbs' healing properties, you can also integrate them into most cooking recipes.
Sixteenth century herbal classic
Encyclopedia of Spices
Information on more than 40 spices
Growing Medicinal Herbs
Growing and using herbs for health
Health Promoting Properties of Common Herbs
From the American journal of Clinical Nutrition
Indoor herb garden kits
Indoor medicinal herb starter kit
Medicinal Herb Package
From Heirloom Seeds
Spices - Exotic Flavors and medicines
Detailed information on more than 30 spices from the UCLA Biomedical Library
Uses of Spices as Medicine
From the UCLA Biomedical Library.
Nutritious, delicious, and much more. If you're hunting for your own wild mushrooms, we recommend you first start out with an experienced mushroom person.
Company promoting radically new environmental uses for gourmet and medicinal mushrooms. Extensive free information. Highly recommended.
Devoted to the science of mycology (the study of the fungi) and the hobby of mushrooming (the pursuit of mushrooms). Includes the "The Fungi of California" with photographs and descriptions of over 400 species of fungi found in California (and over 1800 total photographs)
Tom Volk's Fungi
Excellent resources with a very useful beginner's introduction
Permaculture was created in the 1970s by two Australian ecologists, Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. They developed a very dynamic system of agriculture which evolved over the years It is a philosophy of ethics, personal responsibility and balanced ecology working with, rather than against, the natural world to create sustainable human habitats.
A guide to home-scale Permaculture [book]
Video on Permaculture co-founder Bill Mollison
Introduction to Permaculture
By Bill Mollison [book]
Principles and pathways beyond sustainability by David Holmgren, co-founder of Permaculture [book]
Promotion and support of the sustainability of human culture and settlements
Good selection of books and videos, including Bill Mollison on Permaculture
Publishes and distributes the best in Permaculture research. Established by Permaculture founder Bill Mollison
Video shows how Permaculture can be applied in an urban setting
Urban Permaculture Guild
Group action to help transform urban places
Remineralization revitalizes soils by imitating natural processes and using materials ("rock dust") that are a result of glaciation, volcanic eruptions, and alluvial deposits to restore the soil with its natural nutrients.
On a Fad Diet of Rock Dust, How Does the Garden Grow?
Article from New York Times
Non-profit organization incorporated to disseminate ideas and practice about soil remineralization throughout the world. Site offers two free ebooks on soil mineralization
Rock Dust Grows Extra-Big Vegetables (and Might Save Us from Global Warming)
Article from The Independent
We have gone from eating hundreds, if not thousands, of different varieties of vegetables, to the few, standard veggies found at most dinner tables. "Heirloom" seed companies and organizations seek to preserve the original biodiversity, and promote sustainable, organic agriculture with traditional, vegetable, flower and herb seeds, all organic, non-hybrid, and non-genetically modified. Why? Because the foods produced are healthier and tastier, and in the long-run, more likely to survive and thrive than hybrids.
Organic Seed Alliance
Supporting the ethical stewardship and development of seed
Seeds of Change: The Living Treasure
The story of the movement to restore biodiversity and revolutionize the way we think about food [book]
Redwood City Seed Company
Seeds of Change
Sustainable Seed Company
Over 900 varieties of rare organic heirloom Vegetables, Herbs, Flowers, Native Wildflowers and Grains. 100% USA grown. Complete line of books, seed saving supplies, DVDs and organic fertilizers. Working to preserve horticultural history with rare information on varieties, including scans and photos from historic seed catalogs.
Non-polluting, free energy that cooks flavorful meals. You can even make your own solar oven.
Clear Dome Solar Thermal
Solar thermal products for everyday living
Solar Cookers International
Spreading solar cooking to benefit people and environments
Solar Cooking Archive
A lot of information from Solar Cookers International
Solar Oven Society
Non-profit organization sells solar ovens to help support its activities in developing countries
Sport Solar Oven
Commercial products supporting the Solar Oven Society
Ovens for sale that are used around the world, including large ovens used by villages.
An easy-to-grow, high-protein, space-saving food. Everybody should be growing sprouts.
Sprouting at Home
Urban agriculture notes from City Farmer
Wide variety of information and products
Offers information, seeds, kits and more
Worms are your friends.
Composting with Red Wiggler Worms
Urban agriculture notes from City Farmer
Good information from Wikipedia
Buy a word condo for your home
The definitive vermiculture magazine
Information and products