Concerned about Food Security?

The current pandemic is an event no one could have ever been completely prepared for. From lay-offs to empty grocery store shelves, food security is an issue that persists in a global crisis and beyond it. While there are many things that cannot be changed, you can start taking actions to be prepared for now and the future. Through at-home gardening, you can combat food shortages, decrease your daily food spend, eat healthier and even bond with your family. Here are two options to start your home garden.


The F.A.I.T.H Garden

The F.A.I.T.H garden (Food Always In The Home) is a great way to consistently have fresh vegetables at hand with minimum effort. Cost-effective, it is something you can do with the whole family! Here are the quick and easy steps to starting your own garden and feed a family of six:

Choose a slightly sloped 100 sqm area in your garden with fertile soil and plenty of sunlight. For those with flat ground, dig drainage tunnels around the plot as the plants need lots of water.
Divide the garden into three sections with one half of each section held in reserve for replanting.  Plant one section with short term vegetables that will be ready for use in two to four months like soybeans, tomatoes, or sweet corn. The second plot is given over to vegetables which can produce for six to nine months, including okra, onions, garlic, and eggplant. Vegetables that will produce for 11 to 12 months are grown on the third plot:  taro or patani.  Replant and rotate your veggies. Crop rotation helps prevent the spread of pests and diseases and also improves the fertility of your soil.

It’s as easy as that! With a bit of maintenance, this garden can decrease your food spend by 20% and limits your dependability on others.


The Keyhole Garden

Another low-cost option is the layered Keyhole garden — a perfect way to grow healthy food if you have poor soil or lack the space for a F.A.I.T.H garden.

Secure a basket between four corner posts in the center of a 1m radius circle. Outline the circle with stones as shown in the photo.
The basket is encircled with rope & lined with thatching grass to allow water that is poured into the basket to flow into the garden soil and keep it moist.
The 1st layer is a selection of iron scraps such as aluminum cans, dry animal bones or clay so provide essential minerals and drainage during heavy rains. Then comes more thatching grass and wood ash on top. Finally, you can add soil and begin planting.

Make sure to use dry manure mixed with soil and keep adding stones around the garden as the layers grow taller.
Plant a minimum 4 different vegetables out of the root crop or leafy crop family. Avoid vegetables such as eggplants, tomatoes, peppers or chilis.
Lastly, make sure to water the garden regularly to keep the soil most and pour unfiltered water in the compost basket in the middle.

Although the pandemic has caused unforeseeable problems for many, learning new tricks and tips can be useful for staying healthy and financially secure. Gardening has helped many families bond and work together during this time. Most importantly, passing on valuable information to friends and your community is also crucial for staying strong during this time.

Author Julia Pazos