Growing Your Own Food

Whether you’ve got a few raised beds in your backyard, a community garden plot, or just a pot of tomatoes on your patio, we’ve got lots of resources to help you grow your own food.

Why is growing our own food important? From a climate perspective, the fewer miles our food travels from the farm to our tables, the less climate-changing greenhouse gases are emitted. Plus, it tastes better! And, when you use organic and regenerative techniques to grow your food, odds are your food is more nutritious too. In addition, regenerative gardening practices (like keeping the soil covered in living plants, diversity of crops, no-till, no chemicals, composting, crop rotation, and more) create healthier soil that can absorb (“sequester”) more carbon dioxide (a primary cause of global warming) from the atmosphere. In fact, the book Drawdown, edited by Paul Hawkins, ranked regenerative agriculture as the 11th most effective way to combat climate change (out of 80 solutions evaluated) because of its ability to draw down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in the soil.

Here are some resources to help you grow your own food and combat climate change at the same time.

Videos

Here are a few great videos to help you get started growing your own food in a climate-friendly way.

Podcasts

  • Greg Peterson, founder of The Urban Farm in Phoenix, Arizona, has devoted his life to educating others on permaculture and regenerative farming. Check out “The Urban Farm” podcast wherever you get your podcasts for a wide variety of fascinating gardening-related interviews.
  • San Diegan Eric Espiritu hosts the Epic Gardening podcast with inspiring guests, most of them local, too. You can also ask gardening questions on the podcast web page (linked above), and he’ll try to answer them in the podcast.


Classes

  • Wild Willow Farm and Education Center in South San Diego offers a School for Regenerative Agriculture, as well as numerous other classes, from beekeeping to mushroom cultivation and more!
  • Learn how to bring the principles of regenerative agriculture to your own home garden with Kiss the Ground’s Regenerative Gardening course online. Kiss the Ground is a non-profit organization based in Los Angeles that promotes regenerative agriculture as an important solution to climate change and the ecological damage that industrial agriculture has wrought on our planet.
  • Greg Peterson’s The Urban Farm also regularly hosts online classes on an array of gardening topics. Classes are usually free for 24 hours or you can purchase them for permanent access.
  • Solana Center in Encinitas offer many classes on gardening and composting. Normally classes are offered at their site and throughout San Diego County, but during the pandemic, classes have been moved online.
  • San Diego Seed Company offers occasional gardening classes, moved online for the pandemic. Learn why gardening with locally adapted seeds is so important to your success as a gardener and to the local food system. Check out their blog, too, for another great way to learn about growing food in San Diego.


Books

  • Square Food Gardening by Mel Bartholomew. One of the simplest ways to begin gardening is to start on a small enough scale that it won’t overwhelm you. This book includes all the information you need to get started, inexpensively.
  • Kitchen Garden Revival by Nicole Johnsey Burke. Gorgeous photos of beautiful raised-bed kitchen gardens Burke has created for her clients, with information on how to create your own. Includes a useful section on plant families of your typical kitchen garden plants and their common needs and growing conditions.
  • Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces by Gayla Trail. How to grow delicious, affordable, organic edibles almost anywhere, including from your patio, balcony, rooftop, windowsill or more.

Instagram accounts to follow

  • Gardenaryco is the account of Nicole Johnsey Burke, author of Kitchen Garden Revival (see above). She posts entertaining short videos from her raised bed garden almost every day.
  • Farmerrishi teaches regenerative gardening and runs his family’s regenerative plant nursery in the Los Angeles area. See his inspiring work on his own small patio garden, as well as on regenerative gardens he has designed, and his family’s plant nursery. He speaks frequently on our place as humans in nature (not separate from it) and how to garden coming from this heartfelt place.
  • Epicgardening by Kevin Espiritu, an urban gardener in San Diego with a lot of knowledge and experience and creative solutions to share. (We learned how to prune tomatoes from one of his videos!)
  • ronfinleyhq is the original “Gangsta Gardener” from Los Angeles. Now, he teaches master gardening classes online and shares the beauty of his own garden on Instagram.
  • charles_dowding is a British market gardener who shares his gardening tricks and tips in Instagram videos.