Over the past couple of years, I have received several requests from various people about information on how to get started growing one’s own food. While there is no foolproof way that I know of, there are all kids of places someone can start, but I will share several things that helped me.
A few great books to start with for information are Four-Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman, Backyard Farming by Derek Hall, Small-Scale Grain Raising by Gene Logsdon, and McGee & Stuckey’s Bountiful Container by McGee and Stuckey (don’t be put off by the container gardening focus, it has great information on all kinds of plants). These books talk about growing food in a direct, no-nonsense sort of way, and they all assume that you are trying to grow food to feed yourself, not just as a hobby.
I also subscribe to the magazines Grit, Hobby Farms, Mother Earth News, and Rural Heritage, all of which have regular great information on small-scale farming. They also provide advertising and links to all kinds of places that have resources for small-scale farmers.
Of course, getting started raising one’s own food also requires the proper equipment and resources, and those depend entirely on what kind and scale of food raising someone intends to undertake. A good way to figure out what you may need is to seek out someone already doing what you want to do and see how they are doing it.
I also find that attending farm and heritage festivals and shows can provide all sorts of good information.
In the end, though, the biggest thing someone has to do is to do it. My own adventure into food raising started because I just started doing it, first in a tiny garden when I still lived in the city, and then eventually on my in-laws’ farm as I took over operations here. The biggest thing I learned from that experience is that you have to set aside the fear of failing and just try things until you find something that works. Once you do that, you will find it leads to many things that work.
And, once that happens, you’ll find that people start coming to you for advice too.