Eating a self-dependant diet

Humans developed past being nomadic hunters and gatherers some 12,000 years ago and moved on to agriculture.

Long after that, the first self-service grocery store was opened in 1916, which is how most people shop today, if they have not gotten on board with the new online ordering services of stores like Hy-Vee.

However, while grocery stores are the common method of getting food in the modern day, it is not the only way people get their food. There are also people that garden, hunt, and forage for their food.

Thirty-five percent of households in America grow food in their household or community garden.

“I like gardening because it keeps me outside instead of staying inside all day and I like fresh vegetables and fruit,” said Hannah Uhrich, junior.

Gardening is easy and is a fairly common source of some food for those with the resources to grow their own food. Of the 35 percent of households that have gardens, 76 percent grow vegetables.

Common vegetables in gardens include carrots, green beans, and peppers. Tomatoes are also a staple in home gardens but, scientifically speaking, it is a fruit. Herbs, such as basil and thyme, are also common in gardens.

“I really enjoy using three or four different variety of tomatoes because they ripen at different times throughout the summer and early fall. I also enjoy planting cucumbers so we can use them as fresh sliced and also make pickles for the winter,” said Mike Kennedy, a local gardener.

Six percent of Americans over the age of six are hunters.

Hunting is much more of a commitment in terms of both money and time than gardening is. Hunting has many more rules and regulations than gardening in order to protect the safety of hunters, land, and the wildlife being hunted.

In Iowa, all hunters born after Jan. 1, 1972, need to pass a class to be certified in hunter education, and those over the age of 16 are required to purchase a hunting license.

Still, at 6 percent of the American population, that has 19,386,000 going hunting each year.

“It’s an opportunity to unplug and enjoy nature that’s free of taking a picture for social media. Eating game is about not being wasteful and respect for the animal. As well as taking pride in a meal that was prepared by you from the start,” said Jack Doyle, former secretary of the Iowa State University hunting club.

Foraging for food is very uncommon in today’s society outside of the springtime craze for morel mushrooms.

However, there are still people that do forage for their own food in locations anywhere from the wilderness to local parks.

Rebecca Davis, a junior, enjoys foraging for berries in the summer.

“I like going out to parks with friends and searching for and collecting berries that I can take home and use in recipes,” Davis said.

Various workshops are available to learn more about foraging as well as books such as, “Foraging: The Complete Beginners Guide On Foraging Medicinal Herbs, Wild Edible Plants And Wild Mushrooms For A Self-Sufficient Living.”

Foraging for certain plants can also help out the environment greatly. Invasive species have become a real threat to environments in recent years.

Invasive species are plants, animals, or other organisms that are introduced to an environment that they are not native to and cause harm to the ecosystem.

Examples of invasive species in Iowa include the garlic mustard plant, zebra mussels, and autumn olives.

Zebra mussels do not have much meat and in any case do not taste good, so eating them is not recommended.

However, autumn olives are delicious berries and can be made into fruit leather, jams and garlic mustard can also be made into a pesto as easily as basil.

To find more information on invasive species and recipes using them look to organizations such as Eat the Invaders and the state DNR.


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