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Grow Your Own Food

When COVID-19 became prevalent in America, I decided to reassess some of my daily practices including the foods that I was eating. Even though I am vegan and predominantly plant-based, meaning whole foods only and very little processed or no processed foods at all, there were still practices in my lifestyle and diet that could be more wholesome.

 I decided that growing my own food not only was a smart way to self sustain, not knowing where the pandemic was going to take us, but also a more natural way of eating on a regular basis, eliminating waste and not to mention saving money and trips to the grocery store (which were becoming extremely anxiety ridden because of quarantine).

I started simple, with green onions. I purchased them from the grocery store, per usual, organic if I can find it. A friend had once told me that if you put the bottom bulbs of the green onion into a glass of water, it would begin to regenerate. So I decided to try this.
 Within a few days I was growing my own green onions. I had no idea that you could propagate food like this, let alone it would be so quick!
So I decided to try it out on a few more items that I eat on a regular basis. Next up, celery. I typically have celery juice every morning. I don’t need to go into detail about the benefits of celery juice because it’s all over the Internet. Needless to say, I was purchasing a lot of celery. Little did I know, if you do the same process with the bottom of the celery stocks as the green onions, they would re-grow as well!

A friend of mine shared their Masterclass subscription with me and one of the first classes I watched was by Ron Finley, also known as ‘the gangster gardener.’ In this Masterclass, Ron goes over how to replant potatoes and garlic when they start to sprout. At this stage, most people throw them away and go to the grocery store to buy more. However when potatoes get those ugly 'eyes' and the garlic clove sprouts that little green stem, that is the exact point in time to put them in the ground and watch them grow!

 I do have the luxury of having land, a yard and a deck for my garden, however, most of my food I am growing in my kitchen in terra-cotta pots: terra-cotta specifically because plastic containers are not ideal to be re-growing food that you were putting into your body especially when left in the sunlight. *Having a yard is not a requirement of propagating and growing your own food.* All you really need is a window that gives direct sunlight, soil, water and a few terra-cotta or ceramic pots.

There are also a ton of indoor growing systems online now specifically designed for small space use where you can grow things like herbs and lettuce and tomatoes. I’m sure you’ve seen the advertisements on Instagram for these growing systems. I have not personally used them, so I will not be recommending any particular one, but I do have many friends in small Los Angeles apartments that have given rave reviews.

I compost daily, meaning I save unused parts of fruit, vegetables, i.e. skins, dead leaves, etc. I built two compost piles out of old tractor tires. I use a three pronged gardening fork to turn the soil daily. Tip: you don't want to compost anything you don't want back into your food, such as bones, plastic, etc. Also, try to create a compost container plastic-free.

Another benefit of growing your own food is that you know exactly what is in it. No guessing of ingredients or the amount of pesticides used. Just raw and organic, which is ideal for plant-based, whole food diets & lifestyles.

Overall, I enjoy the Zen practice of gardening. Staying busy during quarantine with my plants and growing my own food has been a blessing. It is also a small way that you can reward yourself with credit when some thing that you nurtured starts to grow and is a success. And right now, with all the anxiety during quarantine, you deserve every little success you can find.

So do yourself a favor, the next time you go to the grocery store and finish your celery, your green onion, your garlic, your sweet potato that you forgot about that started sprouting ‘eyes’ everywhere... stick it in a cup of water or in a pot of dirt and see what happens!