Over the years we have learnt from experienced farmers in large scale farming and smaller scaled subsistence level farming and urban farmers who are willing to share their knowledge and experience with everyone who is willing to learn. Through learning, applying, trial and error, we have refined our techniques and improved our skills to a level where much of what we would normally buy at a green grocer can now be harvested from our gardens just minutes before being served up in a meal. Many of our extra plants will go to schools wanting to start up their own projects with our help to educate their students while supplementing their food programs for the less fortunate students who do not have enough food to eat at home.
Our goal with subsistence agriculture is to educate and inform as many communities as possible on how to improve the yields and quality of herbs, fruits and vegetables that they grow in order to feed themselves as they do not earn enough to buy all the groceries they require to survive healthily.
Organic farming and gardening along with companion planting practices to minimize the costs of producing and harvesting healthy, nutritious and chemical free fruits and vegetables is part of what we aim to teach. We share the knowledge we have learnt about the cheap and useful items available in most households which can be used to help keep parasites and pests off your plants. We also teach what we have learnt about companion planting which helps reduce the time and effort of regular and more thorough treatments and care by pairing plants with each other that deter infestation of their companion plants in the vicinity. Some plants release natural pesticides and chemicals which are non-toxic to humans but quite effective as an insecticide and pesticide, like pyrethrin from chrysanthemum which can be extracted into a spray-able tea. Planting French marigolds in tomato beds 2 to 4 months before planting tomatoes treats nematodes which are harmful to many different plants, especially citrus trees.
We also teach and encourage the practice of container farming which maximizes the limited space many of us experience by living in an apartment building. Growing some herbs and vegetables in containers not only provides a healthy alternative to many of the things we eat regularly but it also brings nature into our homes and even purifies our air when one knows what to plant. An empty windowsill could be full of life with a planter that could supply you with basil, mint, thyme, parsley and many other herbs that do not need a whole flower bed to grow. Pots in well-lit and aerated spots could provide tomatoes, rosemary, bay leaves and other plants that would not normally be thought of as decorative could be turned into a conversation starter. Even small gardens with little space to grow anything can be converted into a growing space which lends colour and life to dull, lifeless areas and supplies healthy and nutritious edibles which are free of industrial chemicals and pesticides. Many of the containers our groceries come in end up in landfills and our oceans. Converting them into planters prevents the extra pollution and provides an opportunity to grow something beneficial and useful while saving you the money of having to go out and buy a pot.
Containers can be used for a completely different type of farming, earthworms. This is beneficial to our garden and could also be a fun project for our kids while composting some of our kitchen scraps and other organic materials. It also produces one of the best natural fertilizers available anywhere. Worm farms are a slower, yet safe and natural garbage disposal system which will supply you with worm compost tea which will save you the expense of buying synthetic fertilizers.
Much of what we throw away is useful as composting material which will return many of the nutrients which our farming removes. Starting your own compost heaps will save money in the long run by reducing the costs and needs of synthetic fertilizers. The wisdom in recycling and composting has other benefits we barely think of because we don't see it. It is also a free and permanent source of natural homemade compost and mulch will invite earthworms into your garden which has a whole range of other benefits we don't realize. Regular maintenance through weeding and pruning also provides a lot of extra composting material which ensures a constant supply for our needs. Recycling and composting has reduced the amount of trash that goes into our bins by as much as 60%.
With this project we also aim to support some subsistence farmers by enabling them to grow things which could be bought by big companies which package and sell the product under their own label while saving them the effort of having to buy land and train workers to do it for them. In this way people will also be able to make their land earn them a living.