Why urban homesteading and the co-ops matter...

I grew up in the suburbs. My kids grew up in the suburbs. Which means we don't have much connection to an agrarian lifestyle.  In fact, I remember stopping by the side of the road on the way to New Mexico once to touch cotton in a field.  I wanted to see what it looked like before it wound up in a baggie at Walgreens.

Most of us don't know about food production because we don't need to.  There are efficient supply chains in place so driving down the road to a grocery store or box store just makes sense.

However there is inherent risk in becoming completely disconnected from food production. You've probably seen the marches on Monsanto and other large corporations. You may have seen the efforts of activists like Ron Finley in South Central LA.  While many of our worlds problems seem large and unchangeable, becoming more connected to our food supply is one that is within our grasp.

Here are three simple things you can do to change your relationship to the food supply.

1. Get connected with a local, organic co-op.  In my neighborhood, Greenling and Urban Acres provide distribution from local farms.  Investing in local distribution outlets creates sustainable alternatives to the big global corporations.

2. Re-learn skills that used to be part of day-to-day life.  Subscribe to Mother Earth News or pick up a book like The Urban Homestead .

3. Plant something edible.  You don't have to grow all of your food. You don't even have to grow most of it. You just have to begin to learn how to grow something. And most of that is going to be about trial and error. Experiment with soil. Experiment with plants. Start with a contain.  Just plant something.  Herbs are an easy place to start.

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Maira Gall