After reading books on organic gardening including Eliot Coleman's book on the 4 season harvest (see links section) and in learning from teachers, I learned that you can grow and eat fresh food year round and store much of the fall harvest. Being able to grow and store your own food is the emerald in the crown of self sufficiency. So many people struggle with the cost of groceries. The cost of a head of lettuce is ridiculous. People should not have to pay these prices for wilted, stunted, gassed produce.
Any where you live; you could grow some sort of root vegetable that gives a salad type green to eat. You could grow Belgian Endive, harvest the root in the fall and put it in a bucket of sand in a cool, dark place (under your kitchen sink covered with bag). Then, when you are ready for fresh endive in the middle of winter, add water! There is a little more to it than that, you have to make sure it's kept dark etc, but not much more to it. Elliot Coleman's book talks more about it. You can do the same thing with carrots, celery and a host of other root crops. That's just one example of how easy it can be for anyone no matter where you live. If you want a copy of my write up on Belgian Endive, just let me know. People should easily be able to grow at least some of their own food at home and stop buying food shipped in from cross country and overseas.
You can pick up old bread pans for around 50cents at resale shops, punch a hole in the bottom with your choice of hard pointy thing, add a little soil (leaf compost is better if you have it), heavily and thickly sprinkle in Canadian field peas that were soaked overnight and then drained (prior to soaking they were dried), water the soil when dry, keep out of direct sunlight but around 70 degrees (hotter or colder is fine) till they get tall enough put in a window sill to green the day before eating and eat fresh sprout salad like that all winter. Make sure to first soak the beans in twice as much water as there are seeds, somewhere cool like a root cellar, basement or refrigerator. I bought 3 bread pans to do this, but don't have any going right now. They aren't like bean sprouts which is what you typically think of when you think of sprouts. They are more broad leafed like a clover. You can buy these peas dirt cheap and store them for a long time dry. I think we are going to get a 50lb bag of them as soon as the root cellar is done. There are a ton of websites on sprouting and a big variety of plants that be grown this way. You don't have to get new equipment. The method I used works just fine for personal use. See my link on Sprouting Info for an example of what types of things can be sprouted. It's just such a great way to get vitamins during the winter. My teacher says that people get S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective disorder or Winter Depression) from lack of vitamin D in the winter and this could help them.
It can be fun if you think about how much money you can save by growing some, if not all of your own vegetables. It doesn't have to be hard, you don't need special equipment and a lot of money. Just a little time and interest.
Here are some raised beds we built this week. Yes some are crooked, they need a few more screws here and there and as of this photo we hadn't finished adding the compost, soil and sand.