Teaching Self-Sufficiency to Our Kids Via Gardening
Being a conscientious dad, I have always believed that education and experience are the best assets to leave our kids. Of course, I do not mean just regular, institutional education. I mean, teaching self-sufficiency to our children. Public school tends not to do that.
And I believe part of that education revolves around teaching our children how to grow at least some of their own food.
I feel educating ourselves and having experiences using that knowledge is the best way to ensure a better future.
What do you mean when you refer to education?
When I speak about education broadly, I mean ethics, financial education, principles, and history as it truly is. (Not the “official” version.) Also, the role of the fiat currency and the reasons for its imposition to every government in the world. Our children need to know these things. It is crucial to teach the importance of adding value to our products and associating these to the customers’ needs with proper market research. (FYI: There is an entire degree to learn about this.)
Most of the information to teach these things to our children is freely available. I’ve read more since the beginning of the pandemic than I had to read for half of my career! Establishing the difference between valuable and not-so-valuable information and segregating it is the key.
Below are my suggestions on what I believe to be essential learning for our children to begin to grasp what it means to be self-sufficient.
On stockpiling and food production
Building a pantry is a need and can be done on a budget. For those with fair weather, home canning is a great option. (You can check out our free QUICKSTART Guide to on canning to learn more here.) A hot and humid tropical climate is not suitable for home canning though, unless one takes extreme measures. Digging a root cellar to store things at a decent temperature would be a necessity for canned goods here in Venezuela. However, that would be a payload of work.
Growing a garden from zero to a fully productive state is hard initially and could have a few setbacks. It could take several months to achieve success, even years if the weather is challenging. Getting there without any chemicals could be much more complicated. Therefore, your pantry should be able to last until you start harvesting.
Although I support organic gardening, I recommend researching good chemical fertilizers as well. These can make growing vegetable/fruits gardens much easier. Once the first crops are a reality, one can start enriching the soil with natural agents. But that first batch is quite essential, and it should not be something we put in jeopardy.
Do your children know how to can and the proper steps to do so safely? Do they know how to safely store the food they’ve worked for? These are all things you may know, but do your kids? Just food for thought…
My suggestions to learn more about food production…
There is a myriad of information readily available about preparing organic compounds to assist in the success of homestead food production. Take half-hour a day and surf the web. Take note of any information you believe you need for whatever road you take on your food production journey.
Hydroponics, organics, conventional, permaculture are all great examples of different ways to grow a garden effectively. Make sure your options are plenty and collect all sorts of information. A few minutes of daily reading or watching videos should be enough to absorb the theoretical aspects.
The research is the easy part. The rest of the process is getting your hands dirty.
Here is some suggested reading:
- Creating a More Self-Sufficient Garden for the Long Term
- How to Grow a Successful Garden in Almost Any Climate
- Growing Vegetables is Back in Style: Here’s How to Start Planning Your Garden
- How to Have a Garden When You “Can’t” Have a Garden
- How to Grow Your Own Urban Vegetable Garden
If you have a full grasp on the above linked-to knowledge, you’ll be better able to teach your children how to take care of themselves – how to truly be self-sufficient – as well.
What’s growing and what will be growing
First, let’s talk tomatoes—specifically my tomato plants. Venezuela is tomato land, and my town even had a ketchup processing plant a few decades ago. The only plants that have grown spontaneously in my compost pile are tomatoes. It’s a different story, whether this variety is non-genetically modified in which the 2nd and 3rd generations won’t provide fruits. That’s the test I’m working on, as I type, indeed.
Look around you now, though. What grows already? Take note of what other gardeners and farmers have success with. What do other people say is difficult to grow in your region? If you’re going to teach your children how to be self-sufficient, they need to know what grows in your area and what does not.
Have you taught your kids this knowledge?
Garden planning is critical
Other things we consume a lot of here in Venezuela and try to produce yearly are:
- Bell peppers
- Guyana peppers
Do your children know how to plan a garden? Have you taught them when to plant what, where to plant it, what to plant it with, and when to harvest? Do they know how to get multiple harvests? What about companion planting? Do they know how to grow the foods you eat, how much produce they can expect per plant, and how much one would need to plant to get enough to feed themselves?
As you can see, learning how to plan a garden is vital.
Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose
One’s not always successful when they plant things. Anybody with even a years’ experience gardening can attest to this fact. Plants get diseases, pests eat crops, bunnies are thieves, and lack of water can destroy any hope you ever had of growing anything.
Failure is a part of food production. And your children need to know that.
They need to understand that failure is natural with gardening, and that when they fail it does not mean they are a failure as well. Kids need encouragement. Our children need to know that they can grow their own food, that life can throw curve balls, and that they can adapt to the situation.
Education through experience
Learning food production isn’t just about book knowledge – it’s about hands-on experience as well. As you gear up for planting your garden this year, think about that. Can you find ways to get your kids more involved? Can you find ways to get them engaged in the process of learning to be self-sufficient?
Your children depend upon you. Are you teaching them what they need to know?
Be safe, and stay tuned!
Source: The Organic Prepper
Jose is an upper middle class professional. He is a former worker of the oil state company with a Bachelor’s degree from one of the best national Universities. He has an old but in good shape SUV, a good 150 square meters house in a nice neighborhood, in a small but (formerly) prosperous city with two middle size malls. Jose is a prepper and shares his eyewitness accounts and survival stories from the collapse of his beloved Venezuela. Jose and his younger kid are currently back in Venezuela, after the intention of setting up a new life in another country didn’t go well. The SARSCOV2 re-shaped the labor market and South American economy so he decided to give it a try to homestead in the mountains, and make a living as best as possible. But this time in his own land, and surrounded by family, friends and acquaintances, with all the gear and equipment collected, as the initial plan was.