I absolutely agree, but I would also like to add that lack of time from working a bunch of jobs…

My stepfather has been on disability for several decades, after an accident at his (blue-collar) job left him with sciatica that prevents him from doing just about anything if he were to try to actually work. On top of that, he has about 70% hearing loss, COPD, and was diagnosed last spring with leukemia.

Yet he still hunts, traps, and fishes (on top of chopping and stacking wood for their wood-burning furnace and keeping the house and cars from falling apart around them), because it’s important to him to provide for his family, and decades of doing so have made him very good at what he does.

Two years ago (before the leukemia diagnosis, but after everything else), he tried a garden. It didn’t turn out great, in large part because he didn’t listen to my mom about watering (and because the deer ate some of the crops), but there was some stuff, and he learned a lot in the process. The point, though, was that he tried. He decided that a garden was something he wanted, he had ideas about what would come of it, and he did what he could to make it happen.

For the past two years, my mom (who has degenerative disc disease, but still works as a home health aide and is going to school for medical data something) and my sister (who runs her husband’s auto shop, and manages a number of things in the town, including keeping the town’s charter school running, both by fighting the corrupt school district and parent volunteering help for the teachers) have been going in together on “raising” a pig. They have a relationship with a nearby farmer, where they gather kitchen scraps to feed the pig. When the pig is large enough, it’s slaughtered and they get a pre-determined amount of the meat (I don’t remember offhand if it’s half the meat or all of it). This requires very little continuous effort on their part, and keeps the kitchen scraps out of the landfill.

It sounds like for your situation, you’re attempting to bite off more than you can chew, by trying to replace your entire supply of something right off the bat.

Have you ever seen or read The Martian? It’s about a guy who was left by his exploration team on Mars. In the movie, at least, a storm had separated him from his crew and debris had punctured his suit and helmet, and cut into his abdomen. He had what is arguably an impossible task ahead of him — find a way back to Earth from a planet devoid of all life save for him. The entire movie (and I assume the book) is him solving one problem at a time. Step one, stop the leaking of air from his helmet so he can get back to the base station. Step two, get to the base station. Step three, deal with the wound. During this, he’s not fretting over surviving the next several months, he’s focusing on surviving the next 30 seconds, then hour, then six hours. Next, he solves the food problem, which buys him about a year. Then communication, which allows him to tell people he’s alive. And so on until they are able to get back out there and rescue him.

Likewise, you solve problems like this one step at a time. One herb plant (herbs tend to be low-maintenance), with the goal of making it thrive in your situation, for example. Then make it spread so that it can start to replace your consumption of that one. Talk to your roommates to see if they want in on it, if you have that kind of relationship with them. You get a container and some dirt, plant the plant, and that’s the bulk of the work for the most part. Put it in a sunny window, and now, your primary task is to make sure it’s watered every couple of days. Tackle harvesting when it has grown enough to warrant it, and only then.

Or, find a local farmer and trade resources with them. Kitchen scraps for meat, for example. Or a craft that you do for things like milk or eggs.

This is the kind of thing I’m talking about when I say “get creative” and “we need more education on this,” because, due to lack of education on this topic, you and two or three others have responded with variations of “I can’t, because…” largely because you don’t know of the ways that are available that can make it work for you.

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