Thoughts on <Grow Your Own Food>

Wondering if you should grow your own food? I've been thinking about the same thing. Here is how I think about it.

Thoughts on <Grow Your Own Food> on Jonathan Mills Patrick dot com
I'm not a "prepper". But I'm getting closer to acting like one.

Most of the time I talk about entrepreneurship, finance, and startups. But, today, as I have in other instances, I wanted to share with you something I have been thinking about.

My wife has been a vegetarian for nearly 15 years now. About a year ago I decided to take a second run at going vegetarian myself. For me, it has never been a matter of not being able to live without meat. In fact, vegetarianism appeals to me because I don’t love the idea of taking another living thing’s life.

That said, it has not been an easy diet for me to keep. I have a ton of food allergies that make getting the right minerals and vitamins difficult. Plus, if I eat the wrong thing I feel like hell. Not too long ago I ate something that had coconut in it without knowing it. Coconut is the thing I am the most allergic to. That was a fun week.

Those challenges mean that food and I have not been getting along for a while. So, on occasion, I will eat some meat because I know my stomach generally responds fine to it. Usually, I choose to eat seafood.

Consuming meat is also an environmental issue for me. It is now a widely known fact that meat production accounts for a large percentage of the gases that are released into the atmosphere and are negatively impacting our environment.

Not to mention that unless you raise and slaughter (sorry for the visual) animals yourself you have no idea the conditions the end product was produced under.

My father-in-law grew up on a good-sized farm where they grew and sold produce. So, even to this day, my in-laws have always kept a garden where they grow all kinds of tasty vegetables. They love being able to walk to their garden and pick the food they will need for their meals.

I can see the appeal. So much so that I’ve been thinking about growing my own food for a while now. Those thoughts escalated during the worst part of the pandemic when the supply chains slowed significantly. My household never went without food but our choices did become much more limited. Especially as it relates to “fresh stuff”.

All of these thoughts got me rethinking how we might grow our own food. We’ve had small gardens in the past but it was never large enough to keep up with our consumption. Especially with all the lettuce we eat in salads.

Here are the benefits I see for us:

1) We could control how our food is grown. No need to worry about pesticides or “dirty soil” that our food would be grown in.

2) Gardening is hard work. But, it can also be pretty relaxing at the same time.

3) We would control some of our food supply. I heard recently that the global supply chain is seeing a 3x increase in delivery timelines. There are other things we would need to get from the store, but this would reduce our food supply reliance on others.

4) Food prices continue to rise. Inflation was 7.5% over the trailing 12 months. I don’t believe we would save a ton of money, but I have to believe we would save some.

There are of course challenges:

1) Gardening can be back-bending, hard work.

2) Traditional gardening requires a ton of water.

3) Traditional gardening requires a decent amount of “farmable” space.

4) It is hard to avoid dangerous chemicals. Even if you don’t use pesticides or you use raised beds with brought-in soil you don’t know what is in that soil.

5) Keeping animals out of your garden is tough. We have a peach tree in our backyard that yielded easily one-hundred peaches last year. We didn’t get to eat a single one. The squirrels and birds got them all.

Rather than let those challenges deter me, I started researching how I could have the best of both worlds. A garden where I can grow my own food that didn’t have the challenges I mentioned above.

Then I remembered a business I have been part of for nearly ten years now.

I first saw their vertical gardens at Disney’s Epcot theme park. You can see them here.

My wife and I have been both personal users and resellers of the product. I once helped a nursery get started selling vertical gardens to its customers. The company also helps communities set up gardens.

So, I’ve been thinking about going the route of restarting our own vertical garden.

Aeroponic gardening is big right now in the startup ecosystem. That tells me that I am not the only person focused on my own and the world’s food supply.

I’m curious if any of this is something you have thought about. If so, write me (at jonathan@jonathanmillspatrick.com) and let me know. I’d love to share notes.