These people grow their own fruits and vegetables to reduce the cost of living and ditch grocery stores

Jim Perkins grows fruits and vegetables on the vacant lot of his duplex.Jim Perkins

  • It costs a grower $45 a year to rent space in a community garden near his home.

  • A grower can harvest radishes in just four weeks and tomatoes in 10-12 weeks.

  • They used to shop at stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, but now only do so in the winter.

The cost of living crisis has prompted some people to reduce their food bills by growing their own fruits and vegetables.

Insider spoke to three people trying to tackle soaring food prices by growing their own produce and reducing their dependence on supermarkets.

“It was a no-brainer to start growing food”

Steven DeGracia from Manhattan, New York is a self-taught herbalist who has been growing his own food for almost a year.

“I loved growing indoor plants very successfully and once food shortages started and inflation, it was a no-brainer to start growing food as well,” he said. “I wanted to rely less on supermarkets and know that their products are not really very fresh.

Courgettes and tomatoes grown by Jim Perkins

Jim Perkins grows a variety of tomatoes, zucchini and watermelon as well as other fruits and vegetables.Jim Perkins

DeGracia, 41, said the initial start-up was a bit expensive, but he has since saved some money. Her grow space takes up 2.5 square feet and it only takes an hour to set up. It only costs him $4 a month in electricity since he uses LED lights.

“All the nutrients cost me about $70 but will last about two years,” he said. “You can’t use additive nutrients and only spend $12 a year on a dry nutrient base and use that alone.”

“Kids will always go for apples and cucumber”

Andrew James from Lancaster, in the north of England, started producing food during the lockdown and documenting his progress on YouTube. After two months, he got a housing estate, or plot of land in a community garden, a five-minute walk from his home, where he grows zucchini, eggplant and peppers.

The goal was also to reduce his dependence on supermarkets and save money, so he started growing things his family could eat. “There’s also a candy cupboard, but the kids will always go for the apples and cucumber.”

Photograph of a growing zucchini

Steven DeGracia only spent an hour setting up an area to grow food.Steven De Gracia

James, 37, saves around £40 ($48.70) a week by growing his own food. He still buys some produce in winter but can eat most produce grown in spring and summer.

The chef can grow 10 kilograms of potatoes and up to 3 kilograms of tomatoes and they last his family about two months. He spends an hour after work maintaining the housing estate, which James says has improved his mental health.

It costs £37 ($45) per year for housing and water. “It’s essentially the same amount of fruits and vegetables a week for a year of growth.”

Photograph of a subdivision site

Andrew James saves nearly £40 ($48.70) a week growing food for his family.Andre James

“A homemade tomato is a little corner of paradise”

Jim Perkins of Los Angeles was inspired to make his urban lifestyle more sustainable after seeing the movie “An Inconvenient Truth”. The 64-year-old has been growing produce for most of his life, but more steadily in recent years.

Perkins shopped at Ralph’s, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s. For him, making the change was about embracing “permaculture.”

He also prefers taste: “A home-grown tomato is a little slice of heaven, tasting so juicy and flavorful. Store-stocked tomatoes taste like cardboard.”

Photograph of growing tomatoes.

Jim Perkins says his tomatoes are ready to eat about three months after planting.Jim Perkins

However, it can take a lot of patience to wait to eat the fruits of your labor. “It’s an ongoing commitment of time,” Perkins said.

“At first, it took me less than an afternoon to prepare the ground and sow the seed. Radishes can go from seed to harvest in 4-6 weeks, tomatoes in about 10-12 weeks. Most plants produce a yield in 90 to 100 days after sowing.”

He grows seven varieties of heirloom tomatoes, green beans, a Japanese variety of squash, lettuce, cucumbers and watermelon among other fruits and vegetables.

Read the original article at Business Intern

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