January 6, 2008


Posted by Anais Dervaes


The Urban Homestead is kicking off the new year with another project - challenge. Interested in participating? Okie dokie, here's the challenge....

In our society, growing food yourself has become the most radical of acts. It is truly the only effective protest, one that can - and will - overturn the corporate powers that be. By the process of directly working in harmony with nature, we do the one thing most essential to change the world - we change ourselves. ~ Jules Dervaes ~

100 Foot Diet - Growing Closer to Home: A Lifelong Challenge

It wasn't that long ago (1940s) that people planted Victory Gardens when it became necessary for them, due to wartime shortages, to grow their own food. Check your local library and pick up some rent books about gardening. There are also a lot of great resources on the web. Now, it's our turn.

If you want to fight against peak oil, climate change and our consumerist culture, then join us and start a living protest right in your own back (front) yards. Be the change, live the solution! Use your yard (or balcony or porch steps) not only to grow food but also to cultivate a healthier and more fulfilling life.

There have been 100 mile diet and other eat local challenges. The Urban Homestead's homegrown revolutionaries are upping the ante by reducing the mileage to a few steps - to right outside your back or front door.

The challenge is simple. Beginning as soon as you can, prepare a meal at least once a week with only homegrown vegetables, fruit, herbs, eggs, dairy products or meat, using as few store bought ingredients as possible.

The purpose is plain - the waging of an all-out fight against the forces that keep you dependent on the system of petroleum fueled food. The degree to which you rely on today's artificial corporate structure determines the extent of your vulnerability. Resolve to lessen your dependence on outside food sources.

The result is revolutionary. As you take back responsibility for your food supply, you'll experience the empowerment and fulfillment that comes from learning the basic skills of providing for yourself and your family.

Let's sow the seeds of victory and get our hands dirty to fill our plates. Plant a VICTORY GARDEN today!

:: Guidelines ::

A meal must be comprised of food grown on your property or garden plot (literally or figuratively within - 100 feet - of your front or back door). If non-homegrown ingredients are needed, then we suggest following these modified locavore guidelines

If not from BACKYARD, then Locally produced (PTF's addition)
If not LOCALLY PRODUCED, then Organic.If not ORGANIC, then Family farm.If not FAMILY FARM, then Local business.If not a LOCAL BUSINESS, then Fair Trade.

:: Getting Started ::

Plan what food you can grow. Your first meal might only have a few herbs from small pots growing in your window or sprouts sprouted in a jar. In northern climates, January is a good time to plan for spring gardening (think seed catalogues!). Look around where you live and locate a space to plant a small garden. If you sow a variety of vegetables and fruit, soon you will have enough ingredients to prepare a full meal!

:: Moving Forward ::

Once you have planted your garden and have prepared a weekly homegrown meal, consider how you can expand your "farm," increase your garden's productivity, and, thereby, cook more homegrown meals per week. Then take a further step on the path to independence and victory by learning to preserve your garden harvest.

:: Keeping Track ::

Keep track of your progress. If you wish, once a week you are invited to leave a comment with a link to your website or, if you don't have a website, to describe your meal in the comment box and let others know of your progress.

:: Participating ::

If you like to take part in this challenge, post in comment box below. Participating on the internet? Feel free to use the '100 foot' icon if you are a taking part (remember to "save as" to not use our bandwidth ) and link to this challenge here Spread the homegrown movement: share, email, post this challenge - the more people participating the better.

By planting a Victory Garden means:

- More nutritious food & better health
- Food security
- Improving quality of life
- Saving money
- Reducing food miles, fuel & energy dependence
- Reducing excessive packaging and effects of climate change

HOMEGROWN REVOLUTION - Radical change taking root

Declare victory against climate change and corporate powers that be. Take control over the quality of your food and improve your health and immediate environment.

View our inspiring video on YOUTUBE - HOMEGROWN REVOLUTION >>

Join this Victory Garden Challenge, create and inspire new organic gardens.

Spread the seeds and sow the word - let's grow the future.

Let's start right here, right now and remember this growing challenge should fun!


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294 Comments: "100 FOOT DIET CHALLENGE LAUNCH" »

  1. Count me IN!! I have been using the 100 foot diet for the last 58 years. I am pleased to see the ideas put forth on this blog catching on. Just look at the number of comments. For dinner tonight we had Roast Venison ( from the deer that frequent our farm) green beans from the freezer ( from our garden last summer and a stored potato from our garden. . We had fresh greens from our winter greenhouse. We also had French bread that I had made and for dessert we had Blueberry crisp (made with the blueberries I had picked in the garden and frozen. )

  2. I was reading this over and thinking, "Oh, I don't think I could do this all year" and THEN remembered that I just fixed a soup from frozen butternut squash and frozen tomatoes from our own garden. And this afternoon I shelled the last small batch of black turtle beans we grew. So I think this is close to doable, even for a haphazard gardener like me. (Certainly helped by a mild climate here in Virginia.) Consider me signed up!

  3. I'm in on the challenge. I live on a downtown lot and have a spring/summer garden that I've been working on turning into a year round garden, with more fruit trees to add. I also want to pull up the grass in the front yard and replant with edibles. Also, we are preparing for chickens this spring.

  4. I'm going to try to do the 100ft challenge this year! We have some chickens for eggs, and I have a large backyard. I am planning on what to grow and how much. I have some veggies already out there now, some lettuce (only 2 heads left) onions, garlic, broccoli and cabbage. I have also been trying to get some compost going for over a year now...not much luck there though.
    I'm excited for the upcoming growing season, and hope to make lots of meals with home grown food!

  5. i'm up for the challenge!! we'll be looking throught he seed catalogs and planning for spring. it's chilly in michigan this time of year!!

  6. Rank beginner here. Totally wired about getting started! Gathering materials for a Square Foot Garden. And this evening bought a garbage can to turn into a composting bin, will drill holes in it and start composting tomorrow. Cannot believe how excited I am about all this!

    Will be extra challenging due to so little garden area. None, actually :/ Will have to be very resourceful as to where we put the Sq Ft Garden boxes.

    Looking forward to a great time with the challenge and to turning as many others onto it as possible.


  7. Hi, Ihave just found this challenge and think its a great idea. I've been growing vegies for a while now, and we have 100 foot meals quite often, so it will be good to actually record how we go. I watched your utube article - what a place! Very inspiring - I'm going to put a lot more effort into my place this year and see how close we can get to creating a similar paradise!

  8. im on board, can't wait to get the family out there working the land, well i mean the lot. great challenge!

  9. I'm Shalara.I'm from Malaysia.Although I'm not residing in US,but I know how wonderful these activities will be.I'm an organic gardener and I'm planting lots of brassica species which is daily meals for almost 100% of peoples in my country.I would like to take this opportunity to test my skills in these 100 Foot Diet activity.It is true peoples lost touch with the nature,and it is good to teach people about organic food that will ensuring healthy life. Thanks all,especially PTF and this website. It do lots of good to people unconditionally.

  10. Just transplanted a blueberry bush.
    We have been on the path to this way of living...and will just keep going.

    One idea. Keep a bucket in the shower to catch extra water (it is hard to have a year round outdoor shower where I live...unless you are in the polar bear club). This water can be used to flush the toilet or water plants-as well as the dishwash water.

  11. Just getting started with our little patch. Had our first home laid egg for breakfast this morning.

    Heavy day digging tomorrow, tiring but rewarding!

  12. Using plastic recycle containers and peat to start the garden indoors, new to northern New Jersey, wonder when it's safe to harden off and plant out?

  13. 263

    I don't have the physical energy to dig up my yard, but I am eating organically and have reduced my meat intake and am embarking on container gardening this year and hope to grow much of what I consume this year. I have gardened successfully in the past, so feel pretty confident I can do this. Am excited at the possibilities!

  14. How lovely to have all of this companionship. We are currently living in a 30' 5th-wheel on a concrete pad in southern California. Last year we amazed the neighbors by growing heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and chard in plastic buckets out in front of the rig. The chard is still producing nicely now that I have the recipe for spraying away powdery mildew. One tomato plant is still going and I picked the last tomato today. SoCal is a fun and crazy place to grow veggies! I have added 3 artichoke plants (each in a big container). Three new types of heirloom tomatoes are in new hanging containers. I can bike to the natural food store and farmers market for other goodies. At least 3 dinners this week will be 50% locally grown. Fun and yummy. Thank you for the encouragement.

  15. Love your site! We're new to gardening - starting off with square foot gardening and two 4x4s. We can't wait! Of course, we still have snow here in Atlantic Canada. LOL! I'll be coming back for inspiration! Thanks!

  16. This is really cool because I am restarting my old garden from last year but it was a total failure so this year I want to make it better.

  17. Count me in! I'm planning this year's garden and can't wait to go grocery shopping in our front yard!

  18. What a fantastic idea! I have been working at building and expanding my garden each year but this season will be the first in the 5 yrs we've been here that I haven't had either a wedding or pregnancy hindering my efforts in the garden! I am pumped to get started but spring way up here in Canada is taking its sweet time arriving!

    I'm going to take the challenge - miht even be able to get some meals done with the remains of last years canned stuff before this years garden starts producing.

  19. 269

    I just heard about you guys in this months issue of Mother Earth News. I was already going to plant a garden this year which is twice the size of yours. I'm already double-digging my plots, but had to stop to nurse a glass snake(leg-less lizzard) back to health. My shovel cut his(?) rear end off on accident. I'll plant the first week of April. We call the lizzard "Pooky" after Garfield's teddy-bear.

  20. Sounds great! Count me in. I have only been gardening for a couple of years now. I learned how to can last summer. (Water bath) I made jam with the pears from our pear tree. I am looking forward to trying new things. Thanks for the inspiration.

  21. We are up for the challege! Cant wait to start planting. We have 7 Flats started in the house already. Looking forward!

  22. I'm taking up the challenge. And challenge it will be; I live in a 55+ manufactured home community with loads of deed restrictions. I plan to start in back yard area (going covert!) and will expand soon to front lawn "planter". Also, here in TampaBay Florida we are in a drought so I am investigating hydroponics as an alternative. Anyone have experience with growing in drought climates with water restrictions? I don't have a blog as yet, another thing to learn! Thanks for the incentive. Also, I haven't grown anything since "hippy" days of growing carrots, tomatoes and beans.

  23. I'm in too. But I just planted some early crops last week (plus some I started in flats in the house to transplant in May). I won't be able to eat anything from my garden before May or June.

    I started one plot that is a "Lasagna Garden". I think that is one method that is not only easy to work with, but probably doesn't use as much water as a conventional plot. I don't know how much room I'd need to grow all my own food. But this is the year to try -- and hopefully to learn how to can.

    I will grow all my food veganically (without fertilizers that contain animal byproducts).

  24. Sign me up! What a great idea. I new to all of this, but every journey starts with one small step right? I'm documenting everything on my blog (http://sixinchesdeep.wordpress.com), and I'll put a link to this project on it.

  25. I just love this! I have 1/8th acre and if I didnt live on a busy main street, I would have more of my front yard made into gardening. They won't allow me to plant a tree in my front yard without paying a permit..So I allow volunteers to grow! Lol..
    I have two pawpaw trees, a pear tree that bears beautiful pears, a bush cherry, wild raspberries in a shaded corner, strawberries in the top section of my herb bed and then raised beds with various herbs, walking onions, garlic, parsley and sometimes winter sowing seeds or over wintered veggies. I love growing potatoes from my own seed potatoes, beans, peas, and butternut squash are some of my favorites. This is great!

  26. I'm looking for some people who like to swap seeds they have saved from their gardens. I still have some I would love to trade. Leeks, bush cherry, flowering crabapple, german giant radish seed. (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cnyplantcycle

  27. This year I plan to *try to produce 400 meals here on my land. One think I need to find out is how can I get truckloads of mulch/compost?

  28. You guys are an inspiration. I'm young, but I already know I want to be self-sufficient, and what a windfall that I found your website the same year I started my garden! I have a lot of obstacles to overcome, such as the neighborhood rules against livestock and clotheslines, no pantry space (but I'm going to put shelves up in the garage, with the enlisted help of my father), a mother who's more concerned with the yard looking good than being healthy or saving us money, and this odd microclimate that puts plants in our yard weeks or months behind everyone else (even others on our street!)... But I have 108 square feet of garden space, my mother's permission to use grapevines and strawberry bushes as a living hedge in the backyard, an unused (ever) deck that I'm covering in planters and hanging baskets, and a small area full of trees that I'm putting blackberries and raspberries all through. I doubt I can do a whole meal a week, as no one in my family would be happy with JUST vegetables, but I'm pretty sure I can provide my family with healthy, homegrown food all year 'round, using what I'm planting. Thank you so much for putting your efforts up on the web for us all to learn from!

  29. Sign me up! I started last July bringing home large amounts of produce from prep at a health food store deli. I built raised beds, square garden style. I have sweet potatoes, flowering kale, beets, nasturtiums, Swiss chard, red potatoes, cherry tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, green leaf lettuce, basil and onions.

    I began teaching myself hydroponics at that time and now inside growing I have; cherry tomatoes, beets, Swiss chard, strawberries, purple basil, purple Cherokee tomatoes, purple bell peppers, red leaf lettuce, dill and chives. I grow in a Waterfarm that I re-designed into a bubbler and aeroponics unit, and the rest are in sub-irrigated 3 and 5 gallon buckets.

    I keep moving more and more stuff indoors because the I grow everything organically and pest problems are (almost) non-existant. It takes aless than 1/10 of the water inside, they grow 3 times faster and I LOVE having all the beautiful plants in my living room...and garage.. I have 9 tomato plants about a foot high out there, in bubblers.

    Check it out on my blog...lots of pictures.

  30. I am a late joiner, but excited about the idea. I have a container garden on my deck around the pool. Tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, sage and gourds for crafts. Now I intend to see what else I can add to it! Thanks for the challenge. I'll update the garden on my blog.

  31. I've already signed up for the challenge. I live in northern Illinois, but have already planted most of what I'm going to try to grow as early as March. Right now, the only things that are ready to pick are the various "salad greens". So for the past two days I've made homegrown salads, not only from what I've planted, but from edible weeds.


    My yard isn't really a garden as I had envisioned last winter, may be only the equivalent of 1/6 of the lot. But other than grain and fruit, I think that's big enough to grow everything I'd need to eat. But virtually all my yard weeds are edible, so I guess that makes the growing area much bigger with no effort on my part. I'm trying various gardening methods as a "science experiment", including a Lasagna Garden for my melon & squash bed, a Square Foot Garden, and a container garden specifically for edible weeds.

    But my biggest "problem" is that some of last year's tomatoes and squashes re-seeded themselves. So I still currently have about 60 "bonus" tomato seedlings after giving away more than 12 dozen to people I know, along with over a dozen extra squash plants. I'm happy they wanted them, and hope the seedlings will be enough to sow a few seeds of interest in maybe 37 other people I know who might not have thought to have a garden at all this year. I'm going to give them some alfalfa pellets next weekend, so they can make their own veganic fertilizer as a start for those who didn't plan to grow anything this year.

    I also joined Veggie Trader http://www.veggietrader.com/ in case I grow too much of anything. But I don't think that's well-known enough around the country yet. I was also interested in this post's links: http://breadforthecity.blogspot.com/2009/05/helping-other-people-helpus.html

    (I'm in an optimistic mood, since I have no idea how much food I'll actually get.)

    Other ideas I'm interested in for the coming seasons might be to see about making a cold frame, and/or a hoop house. I'm also interested in the idea of winter crops and/or winter sowing. Something needs to be done to extend the growing season here, because it's been a cold and rainy spring. It's in the mid-50's today. And the things I started in the house didn't do well.

  32. Wow. Fabulous idea! We probably do this severalt imes a week because it is more cost effective feeding our family of seven. We just finished our potatoes from last year and have been enjoying the first vegetables from this year's garden.

  33. After being inspired by several sources (PTF, Mother Earth News, and "Made From Scratch" by Jenna Woginrich), we put in 3 raised bed gardens this Spring and have already harvested SO much spinach and salad greens! For the first time ever, my very picky-eater boys are eating (and loving!) salad greens that we've grown! It's so fun to see them enjoy the growing process and then happily eating what we've grown. Everything in the garden is blossoming and beginning to set fruit!!! I can't wait to begin harvesting all the veggies and fruits! as a first time gardener, I'm encouraged by what I'm seeing happening in our gardens. So excited to see how much produce we will get out of our small-space gardening! Thanks for putting the 100 foot challenge out there for those of us who are earnestly trying to eat more homegrown, more local, etc. Gotta love the homegrown movement! :o)

  34. 284

    My family and I have been enjoying a prolific harvest of some of our cool-weather crops - spinach and salad greens! Lots of salads and wonderful green smoothies! Our favorite green smoothie has been named "Green Monster" by my kids. We make it using homemade plain yogurt, banana, Peanut butter, vanilla, stevia and TONS of spinach or other salad greens - packed in so full til you can't fit anymore in the blender (we really prefer the spinach)! :o) whir it up and...Mmmmmmm....healthy and delicious!

  35. I would like to be included in the 100 Foot Challenge.

  36. July 21, 2009

    with volunteer tomato plants, that was the beginning of a few things to grow.
    then............I found your website.
    I have not been able to leave it, till I read everything I can, on how you started out.
    now, those volunteer tomatoes have added company, in the three raised beds, with home started tomatoes, from my cousin.
    they're waist high and have sooo many blossoms.
    the next step is to add as many other things that can be planted in time for a full season, in my zone 8.

    you have introduced me to a completely new way of thinking. I used to dream of being independent of the utility companies.
    now, with your plan, I will do all I can, to make it all happen. One son is getting information to set up solar panels on the roof, for me, this up and coming spring.
    thank you, thank you and I'll be keeping notes on all of this.

  37. I have grown my total diet

  38. Total diet from garden every day for over 12 years

    all calories came from garden

    each year ..we each raised dry yellow corn ... dry beans , squash , seasonal vegetables

    Trees ... olive , almond,figs, apples , apricots , and grapes

    no importing ... no fertilizer .. fallow and crop rotation

    approx 2.5 acres / adult for calories

    some tree crops were sold

    Northern California

  39. I at one time turned my parents' small backyard into a wildflower sanctuary of sorts. It was much prettier than the lawn had been and it didn't require mowing. My wife and I have since moved into our own home. One of the first things we did was to convert better than half of our lawn into a vegetable garden. We often eat meals made entirely of foods produced within 100 feet of our kitchen, and we try always to buy from local farmers those items we can't or don't grow. We became interested in self-sufficient living as a means to save money; but, as we learned more about homesteading, we became more and more aware of the ridiculousness of agribusiness and the futility of maintaining this country's economic status quo.

    Currently, we're getting into native North American foods as well as permaculture and water harvesting.

  40. My son recently enjoyed his first carrot right out of the ground! Knocked off the dirt and cruched away. We live in a zone 9(b) climate. Put in our first winter garden this past Nov. and are enjoying the benefits! Also planted 3 fruit trees in the past month. Really getting into learning the micro climates of our yard. All the flower beds have been converted to food production. Considering converting most of the backyard lawn to raised beds. Even the frontyard is under consideration. The 100 foot diet challege is alive and well in our home.

  41. I've been onboard with the 100 foot diet idea for years with my high altitude garden here in Colorado. Last year I also started a micro-farm and CSA with some friends outside of Boulder and it was a great success! I use the Fantastic Farm & Garden Calculator http://www.landshareco.org/ to plan both my Square Foot Garden at home, and for planning our biointensive micro-farm & CSA. For me, it is a very hand online garden & farm planning tool, plus the subscription fee supports a good cause.

  42. I am going to try it again this year, lost the battle to the deer las t year, any suggestions?

  43. You have got some seriously valuable information written here. Good job and keep posting superb stuff.

  44. Wonderful web site. Lots of helpful information here.
    I am sending it to several friends and also sharing in delicious.
    And obviously, thank you in your sweat!

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