Your food plan

16 October 2007

I have been amazed and delighted in these past few months to see the mainstream media finally give time and space to the problems associated with Global Warming and Peak Oil. It’s been a long time coming. These two problems alone, even without factoring in the current drought conditions we’re experiencing, are enough to worry a lot of us. Some people seem to be so frightened by these problems that they are unable to do anything. Some believe that technology will save us all. Others believe there is little we can do. The vast majority though do know a little about the mess we’re in, but continue on regardless. While I’m aware that no one is really one hundred percent sure how to assist in the recovery of the environment, I do know we got into this mess by each and every thing we all do in our modern lives, and we can lend a hand in reversing the trends by stopping such careless extravagance and by taking small steps back to equilibrium - by living simply.

Every one of us has a part to play in this recovery. It is not too difficult. It requires that we all monitor our spending, cut back on our excesses, produce some of our own food and work towards a healthy future one step at a time.

One of the small steps to take when you’ve got your spending under control is to learn how to produce some of your own food. With worldwide food shortages now in their second year and the drought continuing, countries like Australia and the US, that supply much of the world’s wheat and meat, just can’t keep up with the demand. It’s a worrying sign that most people are ignoring. In the future, food will be much more expensive as there will be less of it grown on an international scale and less fuel to transport it around. The fuel that is used will be more expensive. The days of cheap food are coming to an end. Now is the time to learn how to garden and store food effectively, and to cook well using those foods you produce and stockpile.

If you don't already have a productive vegetable garden, now is the time to start one, or to plan one for the next growing season in your area. There is much to be done. First audit your own food preferences and work out how much of that food you could grow in your own backyard. You should work out a plan for bartering in your area. Swapping what you can grow for things you can't is a great thing to factor into your food plan. You'll also have to learn how to store all your food safely.

We've talked about budgeting here and having a spending plan, we talk about menu plans but we also need to think about a food plan. Where will the food come from that you use in your menu plan? How much will you have to put aside in your spending plan for food next year and the year after?

As wives and mothers we are the organisers of food in our homes. If the food shortages continue and grow worse, as they are predicted to do, how will you continue to feed your family within the confines of your budget? Your food plan should answer questions like: 'how much food do we eat in a month?', 'what kind of foods do we eat?', 'where does that food come from?', 'can I produce some of our food?', 'what foods are produced in my local area?', 'can I produce something that I can barter for local milk, eggs, bread, meat etc?'

I'll continue to write about food plans as they're an important part of our simple lives. In the meantime, start your own food plan and ask yourself all those important questions about the chain of supply. It will stand you in good stead in the coming months.


Graphic from


  1. It's very scary what we've been doing to our planet.
    I'm on my way to better our family. Just this weekend, I've prepared the garden (yes my very small postage stamp of a suburban garden) for next springs plantings, collected the last of the vegies and seeds. I've planted up containers indoors to TRY (fingers crossed) to grow tomatoes, chard (silver beet), rocket, radishes and beans over the winter.
    We recycle, reuse and try to conserve. I hope our efforts are enough to help.

  2. Ronda,

    I would buy the books you suggested earlier on Amazon but they are not on your side bar. Why don't you add the books you read on Simple living to your Amazon list? I would like to help you get our lawn furniture:)

    You have been writing about some good stuff! Thank you!


    From Ky

  3. Amen and Amen! Where my food is going to come from became very near and dear to our hearts last year and thus I dug right in (literally) and planted my first garden. There was much success and much more to be learned. This year was successful but not as much as I would have liked. Better than last but more room to improve. I hope that with some more research and planning this winter next year will be even more successful.
    Thank you again for all you post.

  4. good on you, Paula. It's a very good beginning. Each season you can increase what you do. When I started gardening, I read everything I could but I also did a lot of things people said wouldn't work. Many of them did. So push the envelope and see how many things you can do.

    hello renee, thank you for helping me. I will add those books, I wanted to do it before now, but I've been too busy to go back to amazon. I'm working again today but I'll try to get back to it tomorrow, so you can get on to your reading.

    tami, well done. It's so good to hear that new gardeners are having success. If you think it would help, I could write about starting a vegie garden. There are a couple of tricks that will make it easier. Happy gardening.

  5. Thank you for another Great Post.
    We lived as Pioneer's for 2 short days. I was amazed at how much water is wasted each day. As well as other items. I recylce water I wash dishes in pans and use the water to water gardens. I can,dry and freeze alot fo our food. We are trying to save on as many items as we can. It amazes me how parents lets their children waste food as well as many other things,as well as the parents.
    I'm always on the hunt for ways to make life more simple . And to recycle,reduce and reuse.
    THanks for taking so much time to teach so much!!!!!!!!

  6. Hi Rhonda Jean,
    Great post, gives you alot to think about and consider what you can do as a family. I have always had a garden but I'm planning on expanding it next year to grow more of what we use. I've also been experimenting w/how long I can go between grocery shopping, so far my longest span has been 8 weeks. Thanks again for another great post.

  7. Very thought provoking Rhonda. I have a wonderful neighbour who gardens and is very patiently helping me to grow some of our food. But I'd still be interested to read about your experience of starting out gardening.

    cheers Lenny

  8. Hi Rhonda, more great words of wisdom, I love your daily posts. I got my vegie patch up and running at the weekend, as i am a beginner, I planted punnets of seedlings, but also some dwarf beans from seed, which I am anxiously awaiting the moment when they appear! Hopefully I won't have to buy any summer salad vegies this year!

  9. Hmmm....this is why I've started leaning to grow vegetables. Well, one of the reasons anyway. And I have been quite surprised at how much I enjoy it. I didn't think I'd ever find gardening to be "fun". This summer will be an interesting test though with water issues. I'm determined to learn though in case water is an ongoing issue as well as food availability (and quality). We have recycled water but they don't recommend using it on vegies.

  10. Rhonda Jean,
    It would be wonderful to read some posts on starting a garden. I am getting the hang of height however I know that with as much space as I used (60'x 25') I could have gotten so much more. In a couple days we plan on planting grass where the garden was and then during the late winter we will build raised garden beds. I plan on them being a bit taller than yours appear in the pictures. This is mostly because in a few years we plan to sell and I want to make the back yard visually appealing to a prospective buyer while still using the yard for our needs and benefit. I was also wondering if you would occasionally write more about the different varieties of vegetables that you grow/have grown, their taste, and your like/dislike. The one thing I have learned these last 2 years is that there is a world of vegetables out there that I have never heard of let alone tried. Last year and this past season I planted roughly 4 (each season) of something that I had never heard of just to see what it was like. It has been a wonderful experiment for me as I have found that our families tastes are expanding.

  11. I had a question about storing. We just harvested our carrots and onions (in Canada) and I know our cold storage doesn't work right, our apples went mushy last year, so how should I store them? Our fridge is full of apples!


  12. I couldn't agree more, Rhonda. I think one of the most positive things we can do for our own health our own self esteem as well as for our planet is to produce and preserve food. Your previous post on money also hit home. Money leaking is a chronic epidemic I think in our consumer "stuff" driven societies. It's not an easy thing to keep track of every cent you spend, (although it sounds like it is) and then face up to the results honestly and correct old money habits, but oh so worth it!!!

  13. We just started gardening this year... we had a few great successes, but still have a LOT to learn. Now we're working on a winter garden, but this is more difficult because I live in an area that generally has very mild winters, so the vast majority of gardening info doesn't translate directly into our situation. We can grow some "spring and fall" crops over the winter, but it's going to take some experimenting to figure out which ones.

    I would love to read about your gardens, Rhonda!

  14. Rhonda, I'm very interested in reading more of your thoughts on this subject. Currently I only grow herbs, but I do try to be environmentally aware: I don't have a car, dishwasher or dryer; I try to recycle and buy local... and I'm vegetarian :)

  15. Rhonda,
    What a timely post. Our food plan has been in place for many years, but it is always good to review it and check for "leaks." As our children have reached adulthood (nearly 19 and 17) I find that our needs have changed.

    I love to be out in our gardens. It is usually so peaceful. I love knowing that the time spent in the garden will nourish the family.


  16. Definitely important to learn how to grow your own food NOW, so that you can then learn to adapt your gardening to future changes in the weather and economy.... We just moved, and started on the path toward sustainability. We are calling this gardening year the "experiment year," where we try a little bit of everything to figure out what works. It has been amazingly helpful.

    I couldn't agree more that you have to read and talk with people, and then break the rules. We moved in May and everyone around us told us that we would have to wait until next year to plant because it was too late. Luckily we didn't listen!!!


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