Here’s How To Grow Food Security, Even During COVID-19

food security: organic farmer and son in a seedling room with tables of seedlings

I learned how to make tomato sauce in college. 

It was my one specialty (if you could call it that) and I fell in love with sauteing garlic and onions, reducing tomatoes in balsamic vinegar, and sprinkling in fresh basil.  

One day, my boyfriend and I went to the supermarket only to find they were all out of fresh tomatoes.

All.  Out.  

“This is ridiculous.  How can they be out of tomatoes?!” I said.  

It was April 2006 in the North Country of New York, and at that point in my food journey, I wasn’t quite clued into seasonality or local food.

We settled for something else, but my indignation at the lack of tomatoes simmered in me all night.  Never in my life had I seen an entire supermarket out of fresh tomatoes.

And now here we are, 14 years later.  

COVID-19 has shut down entire countries and supermarket shelves are bare of many items.

Ironically, thanks to an amazing tomato grower in Vermont, there are fresh tomatoes at our local coop (canned tomatoes on the other hand were some of the first items to sell out).  

At Good Heart, we still have a few hundred pounds of roots for our CSA and the local food shelf, and are harvesting fresh greens every week.  The snow has almost completely melted, and we’re starting the first round of tomato seedlings.

We’re continuing to deliver weekly shares to our customers, though the typically communal pick-up time has shifted to pre-packed shares that Edge simply drops off in order to maintain social distancing.

The importance of local food systems has come into focus more than ever before.  

In the midst of self-isolation and state lock-downs and sold out store shelves, here’s what I want you to know:

You can grow food security.  

food security: crops in the greenhouse with the paper pot transplanter

When the world feels uncertain, planting seeds and growing food can feed your body and calm your mind.  

This is a time to reconnect with the seasonality of food, with the local growers in your area, and with the power you do have to nourish yourself, your family, and your community.

And I want to help you grow.

Below you’ll find a round up of posts to help you grow better and move through this time with ease and resiliency.

If you haven’t yet, be sure to sign up for my newsletter list, and I’ll send you a copy of Grow Your Best Garden, a PDF of my must-grow vegetable varieties for 17 different crops:

Do you have questions on starting or expanding your own garden or small farm?  These posts will help you get started:

When To Start Seeds For Your Organic Garden

Want To Grow A Garden? Here’s The First Step

A Seed Primer: What’s the Difference Between Open-Pollinated, Heirloom, and Hybrid Seeds

For the Garden or for the Birds: How to Know if Last Year’s Seeds are Viable

How To Grow Great Lettuce

Beyond Lettuce: How To Grow Great Mesclun Mix

7 Must-Have Organic Tomato Varieties for the Home & Market Garden

Essential Alliums: the Best Organic Shallot, Onion & Leek Varieties

How To Grow Great Carrots

How To Triple Your Harvests With Succession Planting

Are you looking for some perspective on how to get through the tough times?  These posts are for you:

When Spring Is Hard, Here’s How To Keep Growing  

4 Simple Ways To Cultivate Joy, Even When Things Are Hard

Meditation, Business, and Finding Success Through Uncertainty

The Present Farmer

Do you have questions you don’t see answered above?  

Let me know and I’ll write a post or make a video to answer you.  You can post your question in the comments below or email me anytime.

Remember, we’re all in this together.  We can grow food security, and in doing so grow peace, calm, and resiliency.  

Sending you so much love.



8 thoughts on “Here’s How To Grow Food Security, Even During COVID-19”

  1. Sandra Dufresne

    Hi , I’m trying to read up on container growing, so much info, where would I buy the best seeds? Also thanks for all you guys do♥️

    1. Hey Sandra, we love High Mowing Organic seeds. They’re based in VT and sell 100% organic seeds (many seed companies sell a mix of organic and conventional seeds).

      Other seed companies we use are Johnny’s Selected Seeds in Maine, and Fruition Seeds in NY.

      I haven’t done a ton of container growing, but I’ll do some research on that, too!

  2. Thank you for your posts. Our farmers market is still hanging on here in Michigan and being super responsible. I pray it continues through the spring. I would love your recipe for sauce. Adding balsamic sounds really good!

    1. Hey Ann! I’m so glad the farmers market is able to continue. I’ve seen some states categorize farmers markets as essential, just like grocery stores, in order to keep access to fresh food flowing.

      The first recipe I used for tomato sauce was from a Cook’s Illustrated cookbook that I don’t have at the moment (it’s at my parents house, and with self-isolation I’m not able to get it right now).

      Here’s my general method:

      Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil until onions are translucent. Add chopped tomatoes (you can blanch/peel and core them if you don’t want skins or seeds), and let the tomatoes reduce.

      Sauce tomatoes are perfect for a faster reduction, I also like to add Rose de Berne (my favorite tomato!).

      As the tomatoes reduce, add balsamic vinegar. You can do this to taste, starting slowly and then add more if you’d like.

      For a chunky sauce, you can stop there. If you want a smooth sauce, you can put it through a food mill or puree it.

      Add freshly chopped basil and salt to taste.

      My sauce tends to change each time since I cook by feel more than recipe these days, but it’s always such a comforting process.

      I hope you’re safe and well!

  3. Hi Kate, great post! I think it would be great to know how to grow a lot of food fast. Myself and folks in my area have concerns about food availability and stores have just started rationing. I’d love to hear your ideas.

    1. Hey Sunny, this is a great question! The first thought that came to mind is microgreens and pea shoots. Here are some posts on how to grow those:

      You can also start planning now for consistent harvests with succession planting:

      As you’re ordering seeds, also pay attention to Days To Maturity, which tells you how long it will take for the variety to get from seed to harvest. You can focus on choosing fast-growing varieties.

      I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any other Q’s.

  4. Pingback: One Practice to Grow Crops & Decrease Anxiety on the Farm - The Good Heart Life

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