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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Self Sustaining Family Food Ideas

Even though we've wanted our kids to learn about becoming self-sustaining for a while, it was only after we created "Two Bites"- the healthy eating game for kids, that we finally decided to dig in and start planting our own garden. We created the game to get our own 'fussy eater' to try new foods, and learn about nutrition and healthy eating.  What could be healthier than eating the food you grow yourself?

Studies have shown that kids are more likely to eat the delicious meals that they got to help create, and so involving in them in the meal planning and cooking processes are great ways to get them to try new foods, but since mine are still too little to really help out with the 'cooking' part, having them help grow the food and care for it seemed liked a perfect solution.

 One of the 'rewards' we are using for our "Kickstarter Project" to raise funds for producing this game, is 'seeded paper.'

Theses seeded papers are made with a process similar to making papier mache, and are cut into various shapes.  I've seen them with string attached so they can be worn as a necklace, which makes a great conversation piece.  But even if you don't wear them, or after you're done wearing them, you place the whole piece into some soil, water, and watch your garden grown.

We had only seen flowers and shapes that really didn't have anything to do with food...

Except for this one in the shape of the cupcake-


so we researched how to make them, and we headed to our local flea market in search of cookie cutters in the shapes of food.

I tried to start an egg carton garden with my oldest a couple of years ago, but he was only 3 at the time and he just didn't have the attention span for it.  But now that he's 5, we're trying again and although the youngest is now 3, he's following his big brother and not getting distracted as easily as big brother did at the same age.

First we bought some potting soil and seeds for pumpkins, peas, zucchinni, onions, peppers, squash, watermelon, lettuce, spinach, parsely and cilantro.  We bought the plastic container garden for starting them, and went home and began our mission to growing our own food.

When we hit the flea market in search of the cookie cutters, we also bought a few plants.  I thought that having something that was already sprouted to plant in the ground would engage the kids more, and I was right.  We got 1 oregano plant, 4 basil plants, and 4 tomato plants, and planted them in the flower beds surrounding the front of the house.

Although I would have preferred having the food garden in the back yard, there are just too many trees and too much shade in our back yard.  One of my goals is to get Shane and the boys to build me a portable greenhouse, since we know we'll be moving to another house as soon as we find one with the land we want to be as self-sustaining as possible.  

This one from Amazon is perfect for my yard and budget.



Now our garden is almost fully planted, though I would like to add some cantaloupe and honeydew to our crop.  With the Florida summer setting in, I'm limited on what I can grow until I get that greenhouse.       
I can grow anything if I can control the climate, and that of course is what a greenhouse is great for.  

We've created our self-sustaining income, we've begun our self sustaining food growth project, and we're now ready to start learning about DIY alternative energies like solar and wind power, and since we live so close to the Gulf, we're also going to learn about DIY water desalination, and purification.                                       

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