Pandemic-Proof: Food Gardening as the Ultimate Survival Skill

Every single news headline today centers around the unprecedented impact of COVID-19, a pandemic unlike any that the world has seen. As quarantine and other public health protocols are set in place, daily life for most, if not all people, has become anything but normal.

As companies are forced to shut down, the economy slows down, and millions lose their jobs—the one word that immediately comes to the minds of people when the going gets tough is survival.

Top Survival Skill Everyone Must Have

To make one’s self and family truly pandemic-proof, the top survival skills that must be developed are food gardening and keeping one’s shelter free from pests.

For example, many families that undertook pest control could safely plant sweet corn, radish, carrots, and broccoli, to name a few. Knowing that the quarantine would force people to stay indoors for an indefinite period, those families prepared well in advance.

While it is truly impressive to maintain a well-trimmed lawn with brightly colored flowers and other ornamental flora, what people can truly benefit from the quarantine is the opportunity to grow food right in one’s backyard or indoor space.

Gardening Your Way to Food Security

So, how does one survive when government assistance in terms of cash, vouchers, and supplies is finite? When long lines at the stores and supermarkets show a sense of panic among people, and when life seems to hang in the balance, one can one do? At best, government aid can be accessed for several weeks, but definitely not for extended periods.

The solution is to see gardening as a strategy to attain food security, at least for one’s family or small neighborhood. By maximizing the surrounding land, the once idle spaces can be converted into amazing sources of real food.

Getting bored and stuck at home in a lockdown is the best motivation to start gardening. While practicing safe physical distance and using protective gear, people can redo their lawns and develop these into food-producing gardens.

People who started as early as March 2020 took the opportunity to grow lettuce, potatoes, and parsnips for starters. By May to June, one will find the soil and climate suitable for planting tomatoes, eggplants, and cantaloupes. Many other edible plants can be grown depending on their individual recommended planting months or seasons.

Growing a garden involves several specific skills, including having an eye for choosing seeds, designing a garden layout, and composting.

Harvest & Cook Your Own Food

Harvesting tomatoes

Of course, the best part of gardening is the beautiful ritual of the harvest. Experienced green thumbs and beginners in gardening both say that plucking fruits from a tree or gently cutting crops from out of the ground always brings joy and fulfillment. There is no feeling like waiting for months to see a seed turn into a sapling, then for that small plant grow tall into maturity.

Then, once all the fruits and crops are gathered, another exciting phase begins. Bringing all the produce into one’s kitchen and preparing them for the pot or skillet is all part of the 21st-century survivor skill set. The ability to simply prepare good food for one’s family entails not only the practical advantages but also the spirit of sharing and community that creates lasting memories, despite the challenges of the pandemic.

To succeed in home gardening, one also needs to pay attention to getting rid of pests, weeds, other contaminants that could adversely affect the growth of your plants and seedlings.

Food Sharing and Building Your Food Business

Going beyond the necessity of ensuring survival, this pandemic is also the right time to exercise community spirit and compassion. After having one’s fill, perhaps one could reach out to others who are in need by simply sharing the food harvested or cooked. Whether raw or ready-to-eat, giving out food to other people is definitely a grand gesture of humanity in these times.

For the enterprising, a little packaging and labeling could also turn the outputs of one’s home garden into best-selling edible goods. One can visit the local farmer’s market and offer the produce fresh from harvest. With a little effort, these garden blessings can be cooked, sold, and served to eager diners who missed the simple joys of eating out after the long spell of home quarantine.

These food items also make good products for selling, or even as donations, to local hospitals and quarantine areas where both medical personnel and patients need nutritious, affordable food.

Indeed, gardening and guarding against pests are simple yet vital skills that must be developed by people from all walks of life. As we face more uncertain days ahead, we can be sure of survival by learning to harness the richness of the land and the life-giving benefits of raising our own food.

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