Growing and Foraging 100% of My Food – Day 333 Update

Growing and Foraging 100% of My Food – Day 333 Update

November 20, 2019 66 By William Morgan


Hey everybody, Rob Greenfield here, and today is day 333 of growing and
foraging all of my food. No restaurants, no grocery stores, no pantries at a friend’s house, no dumpster diving, no eating from another
friend’s garden. Literally growing and foraging 100% of my
food. It’s been about 4 months since my last update, so I am sure you are wondering what I have been up to. I’ve still been at it! I actually went away for a long trip up to Northern Wisconsin, up to my homeland. And that’s why I haven’t had an update because I spent almost 3 months up there. I just got back to Orlando a little less than a week ago and now here I am. And I spend a lot longer than I planned up there, and the reason is, it was just
amazing. I went up there to really reconnect with the land that I grew up on. I grew up there never paying attention to
the plants. And I really just felt this strong calling to go up there and connect with the plants that surrounded me and that I just walked by without ever thinking about my relationship with them. I was only going to spend 1 to 2
months up there, but ended up spending nearly
3 months and almost didn’t even want to come back! The abundance was real. It was a truly, truly special experience. So, I’m going to tell you all about that, but first, I am sure that you all are really interested, really excited to see, how are my gardens looking after the long summer? And I’m sure you want to see how they have changed. So I’m going to take you to my two main gardens. First, I’m going to take you to the
garden that’s right here in the front yard of my tiny house, so come on out! (music) I was overjoyed to return to a jungle
garden! Just bountiful, full of food! After 3 months or so, this thing was just taken over. The Florida summer with the heat and the rain, plants just took over. So, while I was gone I had 4 interns who took care of the garden. And the arrangement that I made was that, prior to leaving, I spent 5 weeks with
them, teaching them how to grow food, how to
garden. And it was basically an exchange. They were all really excited to spend time in the garden and learn. And during that time I taught them, shared plants with
them, and then, while I was gone, they did the basic needs of the garden. And they got to eat all the food they wanted, they got to enjoy the bounty all
summer long. There wasn’t a lot done. We mostly just let the garden take over and go wild for the summer. One of the big goals in the summer, really any time of year, is just not to have any exposed ground. So that was where the sweet potatoes came in, the seminole pumpkin, and the Southern peas, just kind of really took over the whole
area. So, you can see how much can happen in just a few months if you go back to my last video update on day 200. But also, keep in mind, look at this
jungle! This was just a front yard. A monoculture
of grass. If you just go back about a year and a
half ago. We have so much food growing in this
garden. But a year and a half ago there was no food growing here, whatsoever. It really, truly shows the potential of what we can do if we decide to grow food and not lawns to turn our monocultures of grass into
food. So, food wise, what’s growing here right
now? The big one I am excited about is the
sweet potatoes. Those are one of my staple crops. Since I’ve been back for the last week, that’s been my staple food. I’ve actually had a sweet potato belly, I’ve been a little bit sleepy, honestly, the last 5 days, just carb-loading. But it’s been delicious. We’ve got the seminole pumpkins, one of my favorite pumpkins which I’ve talked about many times throughout my videos, and those covered the ground for the summer and acted as a nice cover crop. Another one is…. (pause) the Southern peas! So, we’ve got the dry ones and then we’ve got the green ones still and you can eat those as two different types of food. Dry, you can put these in jars and save it and then green, you eat these more as like a fresh bean. (crunching) First one of the season. Oooh..that is
sweet and tasty! Another plant that is growing abundantly right now in the garden is green papaya. So this, I’m going to use to make something like a sauerkraut, I’ll ferment
it. It also goes great in my green papaya
curry. Great sauteed, somewhat similar to a potato when sauteed, so green papaya is another really abundant one that I am very excited about. There is also peanuts growing. That’s been an experiment. I am hoping to have my own peanut butter, with my honey, and with coconut oil. With bananas, I feel like that could make a pretty amazing combination, peanut butter, honey, coconut oil mixed together into delicious
goodness. Hoping that will be a reality this month. And then of course, you have greens and
herbs. There’s tons of herbs growing. For greens, the main ones that are bountiful right now are katuk, moringa, there is the chaya, there’s some different perennial spinaches, I haven’t even seen what’s all in this jungle, to be honest. I’ve only been back for a week and haven’t seen everything here. The sweet potato greens are also edible and very nutritious so there is tons of greens in here. Another thing I’m excited about is the community fruit trees-oh my gosh, this mulberry tree behind me, it’s
amazing! I planted this tree a year ago, a year and a half, maybe? And that thing is 15 ft tall now. It’s just bountiful. I can’t wait until that produces. And then the loquat tree, right in front
of me, has got a lot of flowers. Looking like a good fruiting season for that coming up, which is still a ways off. So, yes, the garden is bountiful and I will be eating well from it. I want to take you to my other front yard garden, which is the first one that I built, and that is about a mile away, so from one jungle to the next. Join me over there. (music) So, here we are at my other front yard
garden. And right away, I’m going to go ahead and address this insane noise. (speaking over
noise). They are literally demolishing a house right across the street!
(Loud machine noises) And that’s what I am dealing with all the
time. My garden is supposed to be a place of peace and I’m often driven out of here by leaf blowers, and lawn mowers, and chopping down trees or demolishing houses, or airplanes. That is honestly why I am really excited to be leaving Orlando and being in a more peaceful place, and that’s one of the reasons that I kind of didn’t want to come back from Wisconsin because it was so peaceful up there. But, still, in the meantime, I truly love this garden. I’m excited to show it to
you. This is the first front yard garden that I ever created, so a big part of my heart is right here. You can see this one is definitely a jungle as well. We’ve got, again, the Southern peas, the fresh ones and then the older ones for
drying. This was one of the ground covers. Back here we’ve got all of the sweet potatoes, another ground cover. The sweet potato didn’t produce as much potato as last year. I’m not sure exactly why, but definitely enough to get me through the project. Right behind me we’ve got the papayas. You’ll notice that I cut the papaya trees way down, and that is to prevent them from getting blown over in extreme winds or
hurricanes. So this is the design, this is called
pollarding. That helps you to have lower trees, lower plants that can handle the big storms. We had a big category 5 hurricane that was actually looking like it could come through here, but it missed us. I don’t know what would have happened, this garden would have been a whole different situation, but I managed to make it through this year without a
hurricane. Which is, you know, I’m very grateful for. Right here we’ve got roselle. This is an absolutely beautiful plant. One of the most eye-catching ones, people that walk by always ask “what is that?” So that’s roselle or Jamaican sorrel. I make a tea from it, you can also make
jams. Really high in vitamin C, I believe. So, continuing on through here, this was my experiment with grains, millet, I believe this is, I haven’t thought about it for awhile so I forgot, but you can grow some grains in Florida, but Florida is not a grain place because of our extreme heat and humidity, as far
as I know. Right behind me, right here, is moringa, the vitamin tree, or the tree of life. You can see it’s a very tall tree right
now. This has to get cut back. Walking through the ground cover of sweet potatoes, right here, over to the bananas. So, bananas are not trees, I still call them trees, it’s the world’s largest herb. And if we walk around here, there is a new rack coming out, right up
here. That one just came out within the last
week. But I was just delighted to come home to
this. To this, just beauty, this huge rack. This won’t be ripe for a little while, but thankfully there was another one that was ripe when I got home and I’ve already
foraged some. So, I’ve been eating banana ice cream, frozen bananas, fresh bananas, just everyday since being home. Another cool think I want to show you, this is, I took this out of my back pocket, this is nopal cactus, and it’s a variety with no spines, so this is a cactus.
(crunch) Biting right into it, no spines. I planted the cactuses back here in the garden from one pad that I foraged down in Sebastian, Florida. And now it’s this good sized plant that can grow into something huge. So, nopal cactus. Another thing that’s in this garden is my ghost peppers and my serrano peppers. I’m producing a lot of peppers, I mean, one ghost pepper, alone, is enough for a whole pot of food, so I have way more than
I need. So, this is the first garden that I created, remember this was, again, just a
lawn less than 2 years ago, and now it’s this bountiful place full of food. So, speaking of food, I mean, that’s all we are speaking about, but we are going to head back to my tiny house, I’m going to take you inside and show you what I’ve got going on in there. So, come on back to the tiny house! (music) When I was in Wisconsin I really just was fully present there. Florida ceased to exist. This home was not my home. Home was in Wisconsin. But on the train ride back, I had a 38 hour train ride from Chicago back to Orlando, I started to think, what’s going to be growing in Florida and what am I going to be able to forage? I don’t have too much fruit in my garden, so my mind was on what the trees might be bearing. And I was unsure, but really happy to show you that the bounty in Florida was real right when I got back. So, I mentioned I had some ripe bananas at one of my gardens and these are them. And I want to show you these ones, this may be possibly the smallest banana that you’ve ever seen. And I’m going to eat this, right here, on
the spot. Oh, look at that! (laughs) That’s so cute. One bite banana. Mmmm. So sweet! Mmmm, so good! Now, this is more of the normal size of that particular banana plant. Those were just some mini ones that didn’t fully develop. Other things right now, we’ve got
starfruit and I love starfruit, they’re not super flavourful, but they are one of the most bountiful trees that grow. I mean, more food than most any family can eat from one good starfruit tree. There’s avocados producing right now, this time of year, and these came from, these were fruit trees that were planted at the east end market as community fruit trees, right there in the parking lot for anybody to harvest from. So that’s been beautiful. Grapefruits, these are coming from a public park about 3 miles from here that I bike to and pick these with my fruit
tree picker. Beauty berries are ripe right now. Not super flavourful but I’m sure they’ve got some great nutrients in them because of the beautiful colour and they are
amazing. Beauty berries. Let’s see, turmeric. My turmeric is not super bountiful right now. They are not fully grown at all but I planted enough, and I have enough, that I’m harvesting them prematurely because this is one of my most important
medicines. So, speaking of medicine, I’ve got some different medicines up here. When I say growing and foraging 100% of my food, that’s everything that goes into my
body. So, no medicine, no pharmaceuticals, only what I can grow or forage. One of my main medicines is elderberry syrup, so this is elderberries that I foraged, honey from my bees, which I managed to harvest over 4 gallons of honey, which is about 50 lbs. of honey over the last year or so, so honey has
been bountiful. So, this is honey, elderberry syrup and then, also, fermented garlic in honey, and then I pour that in here, as well. So, this is one of my main medicines. I’ve also got fire cider, which is a mixture of ginger, garlic, hot pepper, apple cider vinegar, and then a new addition was horseradish and that horseradish is foraged up in Wisconsin. I’ve got my vinegar. This is mango cider vinegar or mango vinegar. And then jun, which is like kombucha,
except it’s honey and green tea, which I grow the green tea, rather than sugar and green
tea. This is not a medicine, but this is a fun food that I am harvesting right now, this is Tindora cucumber, it is a perennial cucumber that grows year round here and (takes a bite with a crunch) it’s a crunchy one and I am going to make
pickles from these. And one other little bit of medicine here, this is my ginger turmeric bug. This is the culture that I’ve created to make ginger beer or turmeric beer. And this is probably close to a year old. I haven’t tasted this. I was gone for the last 3 months. I’m going to give this a sip and see what it’s like. (takes sip) Oooh-ah! (laughs) That’s strong! That’s some medicine right there. That’s honey, ginger and turmeric, Whoo! It’s kicking in a little hotter! And that is fermented for probably close to a year, and (takes another sip) Woo-ah! That’s some good stuff! Whoo! I’ll take a sip of that every day for the rest of the month along with my (pauses) (tapping jar to think) elderberry syrup, man, that’s got me. So, also, I can’t forget to mention I have my other shelves over here, there’s the seminole pumpkins on the window sill. I have those sitting there because they are beautiful and I love them. I have my herb shelf, which is just loaded with different herbs. Cilantro, coriander, oregano, dill, basil, and then my tea mixes. My morning tea mix, my evening tea mix, and then of course, there is the shelf of honey and there is an overflow of green papayas and sweet potatoes and bananas that I foraged at a park. And then there is, of course, the roselle. So, so much food in the house right now and very bountiful. Another thing you will see here is these jars and you might be wondering what this is. A lot of people have commented they think that I am vegan because they see all of the plants but I am, indeed, not. My way of doing things is eating in a way that I think is actually the most sustainable, is in harmony with the earth and that doesn’t work in a black and white
way. Every situation is different. So in some climates it makes sense to eat far more plant based and others not, but this is a really extremely sustainable source of meat. This is venison, but this is actually venison, this is deer that was hit by a car that I got off the side of the road. So this is a deer that would have gone to waste, that would have, of course animals may have eaten it, or a city truck would have picked it up and it could have even actually gone to a landfill or something like that. So, this is deer that was hit by a car and I harvested a handful of deer while I was in Wisconsin. So this was one of my main sources of food in Wisconsin. Venison. And it has been a true blessing. Before going to Wisconsin, I was having trouble getting enough protein and enough fat and my mom told me, when I got home, that I was looking a little gaunt. And yesterday I talked to some of my friends and they said “Ya, you were looking a little gaunt and you are definitely looking a little more full.” So, these have been a true blessing. This is canned, so it’s shelf stable and I had gotten so much in Wisconsin I was actually able to bring back enough to last me the rest of the project. I also have canned fish, and this smoked catfish, which has been great. And while I was in Wisconsin, I ate a lot fish as well. Up in that Northern region, there is an extreme bounty of fish in Lake
Superior. It was truly special. When I got up there I caught lake trout and that was exactly what I needed for, I had felt like I had lost most of my fat. By the time I left Wisconsin I did a body fat composition and my body fat was up to about 15%. So, safe to say that I have enough fat on me now and that 82 days, that 3 months that I was in Wisconsin, I got there feeling pretty low energy, but by the time I left, came back, and was really, truly revitalized. It was the right place for me to be for the summer. Another bountiful thing in Wisconsin was apples. I have a few here that I brought back, but these are small ones, but I got pretty good sized ones, too, there is plenty of big apples. I ate hundreds and hundreds of apples, applesauce was one of my main foods. Venison and applesauce was one of my main foods while I was up there. And also pear sauce, plum sauce, yeah, apple, pear, plum sauce as well. There was such an extreme bounty of fruit
up there. When I first got to Wisconsin it was actually a little bit rough. I got up there in July and that is sort of the time of the year when it’s not extremely bountiful, so it was a bit of a tough start. Even fishing in the summer, those are considered the ‘dog days’. So it was a tough start, but transitioned later into summer and then into fall and then up there was just amazing. I mean, a lot of people talk about “you can do this because you are in Florida in year round warm climate” but it’s just different in a Northern climate. There you have a huge bounty of food during the summer and the fall and you have to store it up to make it through winter, that’s the way it works. Here, honestly, it doesn’t feel nearly as bountiful, but we are able to harvest year
round. So, I’m actually really excited to hopefully do this project in a temperate climate in the future, it’s something that a lot of people have commented and I’m really excited about it. I’m not guaranteeing that I am going to do it, but I am really hoping that I am going to do it in the future. A couple of other things up there that were really bountiful, is hickory nuts. And I make hickory nut milk with this. So I crush these up with the shell and the nut inside and then boil it and that makes a great hickory nut milk. Acorns. Up there we had way bigger acorns, our acorns down here are really small, like way smaller. And, honestly, I haven’t utilized these yet. Acorns are an amazing foraging food. But I have barely utilized them, but I could. And then black walnuts. Another thing that I actually haven’t tried yet, but super super bountiful up there. And I had to at least try some of them. Let’s see, I mentioned that I was never able to produce enough coconut oil, this is actually deer fat. So I finally have some cooking fat, some cooking oil, which has been really nice for some meals. So, I absolutely foraged a lot when I was in Wisconsin and that was really one of my big goals up there, was to connect with the plants that I was raised around, that as I said, I walked past and never thought about and never put much care or intention
into. And I just felt this deep calling to go up there and to connect with the land more deeply and to understand the land. So, when I got there, one of the first things I did, I went to the library and checked out some local foraging books and I ended up buying a couple of books. These are two of them that I absolutely
love. They are by Sam Thayer, who is one of the most renowned foragers in the United
States, and probably around the world. Forager’s Harvest and Nature’s Garden. And the thing about these books is that they don’t just give you plant
identification, they tell you how to harvest them, and what time of year, how to process them. They are just incredibly helpful books. While I was in Wisconsin I foraged and ate
over 100 different species of foods while I was up there, and even then, I didn’t get to, there’s so many that I walked away from Wisconsin, actually having this little bit of a sunken feeling of not getting to do, or try, everything that I wanted to. And for me, it’s not just about eating the
food. Eating the food is a deep connection with the food, by harvesting something from the wild, that means I need to understand that plant and know it much better. So, it’s not about going out there and conquering food by eating it, it’s about connecting to what gives me life. And appreciating the land, and honouring the land and all the resources that go in
to it. I definitely want to give my appreciation to all of the foragers out there who have created this information. I wouldn’t be able to do this without
them. I went out with foragers while I was in
Wisconsin, and the books, there’s the online resources, there was the local groups, and even more important, I want to give my thanks to all of the people that existed before our modern foragers, the native people of the land where all this information, ultimately has come from. Without them, none of this would be possible, so my absolute thanks to them. I’m really happy to say that I have left Wisconsin really feeling like I did truly connect with the land there and have a deeper connection to it then I did in the
past. Now, while I was there, I didn’t depend just on foraging, that would have been extremely difficult. I brought about 100,000 calories with me for the trip, which 2,000 calories a day that’s 50 days, so just to give you an idea, I did have a lot of food with me. There was a lot of flour that I made from my yam and yuca or cassava as well as coconut flour. A lot of coconut flakes. And then I had my Southern peas and my pigeon peas that
were dried. I also had salt, a lot of herbs, and then I also had a lot of dried fruit. Mango and banana. And then also, for vitamins, I had my moringa powder, which I took everyday. So, I had a large amount of food to bring up with me and the combination between foraging fresh food and then having this preserved food, was a great combination. I also brought up about 50 pounds of wild yam, as well, which I don’t know what I would have done without that. So, a huge amount of food that I brought up with me and then maybe half of my diet up there was from foraging and half was food that I brought. And not having a garden while I was there, of course, was the big challenge. Could I travel and could I not have a garden and do this? And that ended up being a big part of this trip and I came back healthier than I was
before. And there is one thing that I haven’t taken a look at. So I am going to take you outside and we going to take a look at some food that I have stored below the ground. And I haven’t looked at it since I’ve
been back. Might even give it a little taste, let’s go out there and let’s take a look. So this right here, is my little underground food storage. And this was designed to keep my fermented
foods cool. Now, I haven’t opened this up since I have been back, so, this is going to be a surprise for me. I’m not even sure what this is going to
look like. I’ve got my sauerkraut in here and
vinegars and I left them for the summer. Oh wow! Oh, look at all those frogs! So, that’s sauerkraut. And, the idea of this little cellar is to keep the food cooler. It was never designed to keep the food for this long, or for the entire summer. But, I’m going to go ahead, there’s my mango vinegar, I think, I’m going to go ahead and give one of these a taste. They look okay, to me. That actually looks not bad. Maybe I’ll give it a smell first. First, I’ll try the vinegar, that’s a pretty sure bet. Nah (laughs) that one doesn’t smell so
good. I think that vinegar has gotten old. Oh, this is fire cider, this is a
medicine. Whoo! It’s better than before! Oooh, I’ll definitely be drinking more of
that. Now the true test. This is sauerkraut that’s about 6 months
old and it’s one thing if you are in Germany or Wisconsin. It’s another, to be in the hot state of Florida, which is just not what this is designed for. Smells great! I wish you could be here, I genuinely wish you could be here to smell that! So, I am going to scrape off the top layer and I’m going to give this a bite, this is 6 month old sauerkraut. It’s been in about 90 degree heat everyday for the last half a year, stored in this little makeshift box under the
ground. (chewing) It’s truly fantastic! Exceeded my expectations, I can’t believe, I can’t believe this worked! It’s great that this worked, but it’s even better that I have sauerkraut! Good news everybody, you can store ferments in the ground in Florida with a very makeshift little system. Got to have another bite. Actually, I’m going to take this over to my sweet potatoes, have a little lunch. (music) Alright, this sauerkraut needs some sweet potatoes, so while I was in the garden, just before, I cut up some sweet potatoes in this pressure cooker and slow cooker. It does both, it’s a dual thing and so we are going to open that up and there is the sweet potatoes with some rosemary and I’m not really, I mean, if you know me, you know that I generally avoid technology but I got this thing and it’s been just, it’s saved me just countless hours. And it was especially helpful on the trip because I could take this thing from house to house and have hot meals as I was travelling and even for the train ride, for the 38 hour train ride, back from Chicago to here to Orlando, I was able to plug this thing in on the train and have hot meals. So this things’s just been, it’s been so useful. So I’ve got my sweet potatoes which was my fast food, just popping it in and
being done, and then I’ve got my sauerkraut, which was my slow food, combine those together for a pretty great little meal. And you can see the bounty of sweet potatoes there as well. Mmmm (chewing) That’s a good combo. (music) Right now there are two main feelings coursing through my body. That is, excitement. Excitement that I have just one month left. And also
relief. I’ve made it this far. I’ve made it 11 months in. Here I am! You know, almost a year of growing and foraging 100% of my food. I didn’t lose weight. I’m about the same weight that I started. I feel really healthy, really happy. I still have a month to go, but I am just very much in the home stretch and things are looking good. What’s to come for the next month? My gardens are fairly abundant, I have enough food, it’s looking like. I’ll still have to be going out and doing some foraging, which I want to do, because it’s one of my main ways of connecting nature, but it really seems that I’m in home stretch and the next month is going to be far more easy. No really late nights preparing tons of food for months to come, don’t need to be storing and preserving a lot. So the next month it’s going to be a lot of eating fresh food straight from my garden and going out and foraging and eating fresh foods straight from the woods and from the oceans and
such. So, it’s been an amazing journey. More to come. If you got inspiration from this or you learned something from this, then I really encourage you to subscribe and also share this video with your friends, hit that ‘like’ button on there to help get it out there and stay tuned because there will be a lot more, beyond this adventure, a whole lot more to come. So, love you all very much and see you soon! (music) Subtitles by the Amara.org community