The production, preservation, and abundance of good food are central to our ability to thrive. Food is also central to questions about energy transition, climate change, and local resiliency. We in the 21st century are, historically speaking, unusually dependent on other people and systems thousands of miles away for our food.
But change is afoot. Witness the local foods movements around the country. We must carefully consider many aspects of food production: while the transport of our food (long shipping distances) is easy to visualize and the energy impact is easy to imagine, it is also important to consider the questions of who produces the food, under what conditions do they produce the food, and what energy goes into its production on the farm. Here are some resources to assist households and communities in bringing food production closer to home, as they decide what to plant, buy, and eat.
Gardening and urban agriculture
Whether you’ve been gardening for thirty years or are just starting out, the Twin Cities has abundant resources as you make your homestead more productive.
Garden stores: Plants, community, and knowledge
You may already have your favorite, locally owned garden store. But if you’re in an experimental mood, here are some sources that you may want to check out — garden stores that are a hub of community sharing, education, and… plants. Please tell us about others at info (at) transitiontc.org.
- Mother Earth Gardens, Minneapolis
- Gardening Matters, Minneapolis
- Giving Tree Gardens, Minneapolis
- Seed Savers, Decorah, IA
- Landscape Alternatives, Shafer, MN
Fruit trees and bushes
Woody fruit-bearing plants may be less labor-intensive on an urban homestead day to day, but they won’t thrive without careful selection at the outset and close attention throughout their lives. Here are resources to help you select appropriate cultivars for your location, and prune and tend them over time so that they produce consistently abundant, healthy fruit.
- Minnesota Project, Fruits of the City program
- U of M Extension, Growing Stone Fruits in Minnesota Home Gardens
- U of M Extension, Grafting and Budding Fruit Trees
- Outback Nursery, Hastings, MN
- Gilby’s Nursery, Aitkin, MN
- Woodstock Nursery, Neillsville, WI
Food preparation and preservation
The reason we expect an availability of fresh foods year-around is that the energy underpinning of this generous state of affairs has been, for the past couple of decades, quite secure.
In places with Minnesota’s climate, we cannot rely on the availability of fresh food except as provided by trucks traveling long distances. Yet the months of July, August, September, and October (and even November, for those frozen Brussels sprouts on the stalk), bring us amazing quantities of wonderful food. Living a less fossil-fuel-assisted life means preserving this food to eat during the winter months.
Solar food dehydrators
Minnesota is a wonderful place for connecting with farmers! Many urban residents regularly shop at farmers markets or have community-supported agriculture (CSA) shares.
The Land Stewardship Project has a list of CSA farms.
Farmers markets abound:
Some organizations that work toward a sustainable, just, local, resilient food system are: