How to Plan Your Garden Food Production for Self-Sufficiency

When you are new to trying your hand at growing your own food, it can be daunting to know where to begin. How do you plan a garden for food production? Is it possible to become self-sufficient in a short time? It’s understandable to want to grow everything your first year. Experienced gardeners and homesteaders know, from trial and error, that it’s best to get into self-sufficiency one task at a time.

Take these steps to learning how to plan a garden for self-sufficiency and build on them each year. Before you know it, you’ll be providing a year’s worth of food on your own land:

  • Grow High-Value Fruits and Veggies-What do you consider value? Flavor? Freshness? Or savings on expensive varieties from the supermarket? You can save money and enjoy flavors by growing varieties that can’t be found in grocery stores.
  • Get the most out of the seasons-Make use of late winter/early spring by using cold frames, tunnels, cloches and other devices to stretch the season and grow more food. You can get a head start on spring salads by at least a month. Extend your fall crops by using row covers to protect them from frost and deer. Extend both seasons to grow more cold-tolerant greens and root crops for food production.
  • Grow early-bearing fruit and berries-Grow June-bearing strawberries and early raspberries. You can put these up in your freezer before canning veggies take over the kitchen. In the fall, there are late-ripening raspberries and apples that come after the hectic food preserving frenzy of summer.
  • Utilize what grows in your climate-Some crops will be easy to grow in your area while others can be a challenge. Soil type also determines what will grow where you live. If carrots don’t grow well in your area, but beets thrive, then grow a small patch of carrots and all the beets your family can eat. This takes you in the direction of self-sufficiency.
  • Grow your beverages-Mints, sage, raspberry leaf and nettles make delicious and healthy teas. Even rhubarb stalk makes a tea that tastes like lemonade. Learn to make your own sodas, hard cider and wine from berries and fruits.
  • Grow perennials-Perennials come back every year and this save you in time and maintenance. Just weed, fertilize and mulch. Asparagus, rhubarb, sorrel, Jerusalem artichokes, horseradish, bunching onions and bamboo shoots are just some of the possibilities. Find out which ones do well in your area.
  • Choose varieties that grow in your area-Talk with gardeners around you to see what varieties grow well and produce high-yields. It’s frustrating to spend all summer tending to a tomato plant and only harvest a few tomatoes at the end of the season when a different variety would have produced an abundant harvest.
  • Grow Herbs-Culinary herbs like dill, basil, rosemary, sage, parsley and mint add flavors to foods for canning and freezing. They are easy and inexpensive to grow.
  • Don’t overplant one type-Yes, you can grow too much of a good thing! It’s easy to overbuy at the greenhouse on too many tomato plants. Don’t plant 50 when 10-15 plants will supply 2 people with a year’s worth of frozen, canned and dried tomatoes. The only reason to grow more would be to sell at farmers markets.
  • Grow something new-You don’t have to grow it all your first year. As you grow in knowledge and experience, add something new each year and keep learning. If something failed to grow in spring, see if it grows better as a fall crop.

Growing enough food to preserve for a year or more is a fine goal and achievable, but there is a learning curve if you’ve never done it before. Take one step at a time and build on your knowledge each year. Before you know it, you will have a pantry and cellar full of shiny jars of food you grew and preserved yourself!

©2011 Shanna Ohmes

Healthy Eating Myth 1: Low-Fat Food Products Are Good for You

A few months ago I published an article about why certain manufactured food products keep you fat, and are not a suitable solution for healthy weight loss.

I focused on the problems associated with the low fat approach to weight loss, which have been revealed by Harvard School of Public Health. Remember, this highly regarded institution branded low fat food products to be more dangerous than consuming moderate amounts of saturated fat? And their call was that it’s time to end the “low-fat myth!”

As Harvard reported the main issue is that when fat is removed from foods as part of the manufacturing process, it has to be replaced. Invariably that something is sugar or other refined carbohydrates. The way in which the body processes high dietary intakes of sugars and carbohydrates eventually leads to body fat – of the type and distribution associated with serious illness including insulin resistance, Type 2 Diabetes, cardiovascular problems.

I also reported that an alarming number of profit-driven food manufacturers continue to produce an ever increasing range of these food products which they still assert to be the “healthy option”. Truly shocking! But their mission to flood the market with unhealthy, even dangerous, sugar-laden products continues, despite the well-publicised recent alarms about the health risks posed by sugar consumption.

The fact that, as I touched on in my previous article, the low-fat diet is a potential pathway to type 2 diabetes, makes it clear that it is the least appropriate weight-loss solution for those already diagnosed with the disease. Yet dieticians and other diabetics specialists working in the NHS in the UK advocate just that – read their diet facts sheets and see for yourself that manufactured low-fat food products are actually recommended! I have come across this in my own clinical practice several times in recent months for patients of both sexes, in newly diagnosed patients, in those who have been struggling to manage their blood sugars sometimes even for several years, and in cases of gestation diabetes. Even more shocking!

It is no wonder that some patients with Type 2 diabetes struggle to get their blood sugar levels to the magical “6” mark when the very products they being advised to take by supposed experts is so way off the mark!

For healthy weight loss – especially for those with diabetes it’s essential to ditch this damaging style of diet and boycott manufactured low-fat food products in preference for plentiful amounts of healthy fats!

By ensuring that a full complement of vital nutrients are consumed through an individualised tailor-made plan, the health problems associated with other diets are avoided.

What Jobs Are Available in Food Production?

Food production workers are expected to check that the food being produced is of a sufficient quality. Other tasks that they might be given include things like checking that production is cost effective, putting together a timescale for every product, estimating costs and generally monitoring the production process.

Here is a short list of some of the best food production jobs that are available at the moment.

Manufacturing Manager
This job is located in the south east and is with an engineering and manufacturing company. This job is based mainly around production and training. The company is looking for someone with experience in the chilled food sector.

Team Leader.
This company is looking for a team leader to head the slicing line. The job is based in Buckinghamshire and offers a salary of up to £35k. Some of the things that this person will be responsible for include the reduction of waste, improving plant efficiency, control of labour and the elimination of accidents in the work area.

Production Shift Manager
This job is located in Staffordshire and offers a salary of up to £30,000. Any individual who wishes to apply for this role should be highly organised and have excellent people skills. The company is a major food manufacturer and this is a 6 month contract.

Production Supervisor
This job is located in Derby and offers a salary between £19,000 and £22,000. The company is a market leading food manufacturer. They are looking for someone who has a strong understanding of lean manufacturing techniques. A background working with chilled products is a bonus.

Nights Team Leader
This role is based in the East Midlands and offers a salary of £26k. The main function of this job is to work in production and to report to the shift manager. You will be expected to work for four nights and then rest for four nights.

Production Team Leader
If you enjoy working in production and managing a small team then this could be the perfect role for you. The role is based in Suffolk and offers a salary of up to £35,000. It is working for a well known manufacturing company.

New Food Product Development – The Need of the Time

New product development is vital to meet the growing demands of customers. In order to reach higher levels in business, a firm whichever it may be, has to go on updating and creating new products. However good the products are, they reach a stage from where it cannot progress. A business firm has to keep vigil to recognize the drop of demand in their products and introduce newer products which meets the requirements of existing time.

Change is an inevitable and natural process. Innovation is indispensable for growth. Change occurs in every field. Our expectations and our needs keep on changing. We do not follow the food habits we followed twenty five years back. In order to cater to the needs of customer’s new food product development is inevitable.

New food product development is based on consumer demands. Studies are conducted by organizations which deal with food products to understand the various characteristics about their consumer, so that they can produce new food products to meet the needs. Business firms which deal with food will need an efficient food management scheme. Food Management discussions should be conducted in varied levels to improve business for organizations and make them capable for new food product development.

A firm reaps more profits by inventing new products. New product development can be categorized in to two. The first category occupies new discoveries which bring out new products which has new uses for them. The second category creates products based on marketing needs. Most such products will be renewed or improved versions of an existing product. Changes occur in all human related fields and activities. Requirement of education, our concept of entertainment, fashion, eating habits etc go on changing endlessly. What is suitable for today is outdated for tomorrow.

New product development does not happen in a single day. It needs time and research. The process is a long procedure. An idea is created to match consumer needs and then the idea is converted in to concept. Evaluation is conducted to know the traits of the product and the product feasibility. Product cost is then calculated. Next step is obtaining feed back from customers, which is very important. Profit evaluation comes next, after which a sample product is created. The sample has to be marketed and necessary alterations made.

Production of the product begins after a final analysis of logistics along with production needs and the requirements of resources. Marketing techniques like advertisements should be done in a proper way to promote sales. Attractive packing promotes sales.

Brand identity is very important when you launch a new product. You have to strengthen the brand by structural brand design. A good structural brand design is found to effect customer purchase behavior positively. It helps companies to achieve goals thus resulting in good profits. This is the reason for big companies spending a huge amount for structural brand design.

Once all the above mentioned procedures are completed, then you can launch your new product to the market.