When I began blogging about climate change with the intention of preventing the kind of dystopian world you might find in speculative fiction, one thing I mentioned was that the things we buy are not always made in ways that are good for the environment. One solution to this problem is the idea of self-sufficiency, where one produces a majority (if not all) of their own necessities. Basically, if the system is broken, you can choose to be independent of that system.
This might sound simple in theory, but in practice, it's a bit more challenging. There is a big caveat to this solution. In previous posts, I've brought up the issue of accessibility and how factors like income inequality affect the ability to live a sustainable lifestyle. For example, it is easier for someone with a higher income to purchase their necessities based on how sustainably they are made and not the price tag. It also provides an easier way to break away from the supply chain altogether. Going "off-grid" might sound like a pioneer's dream, but if you account for the initial investments of buying land, building a home (even a tiny home!), installing a sustainable energy source, water source, and food source... it is clearly not a feasible option for everyone.
I'm not saying it's impossible to "go green" unless you're rich, I am saying it's significantly easier if you have enough disposable income- and many people do not.
That being said, while I'm definitely not rich, I am still going to do my best to make my home as self-sufficient as possible to help reduce my footprint. For starters, I am working on expanding my garden to grow food to supplement our groceries.
When we first moved into our current home we had one small 6x4 vegetable patch. Now, years later, we have three separate plots, a raised bed, and several containers- all devoted to growing edible plants. I'm still learning! Many of the things I try to grow, do not grow, and Michigan's unpredictable weather makes it even harder. But while my garden does not produce enough to feed my family on its own (yet), it does give us access to more fresh produce throughout the summer. If I can get a greenhouse up this year, that might even extend into the cold season.
If you're interested in trying to grow some of your own food but have limited space or budget, I highly recommend lettuce. It's very hardy, can be grown in containers (indoors too if you have enough light) and is one of the fastest-growing vegetables. Bonus: Growing your own vegetables is a great way to get your kids interested in trying more healthy foods!
I'll let you know how this year's garden turns out (hopefully the tomatoes don't get eaten by bugs again) and if you decide to incorporate elements of self-sufficiency into your life, I wish you luck!