Hey everyone! Rob Greenfield here, and today is a milestone day. It is day 200 of growing and foraging
100% of my food. So I just made it past the halfway point a couple of weeks ago in my year long
project. I have to say I’m relieved, I’m excited, and it’s a little hard to believe that
I’ve gotten here. I’m over six months into growing and
foraging literally everything that I eat for an entire year. At the same time, it’s a little daunting because it’s been a long time and I’ve realized I’m only half way. So I still have a really long way to go. But today I want to update you on the project, how it’s going, take you to my
different gardens, and show you what I’m growing, what I’m
eating, and just really take you in, immerse you, and update you on how everything is going. So, first things first, we will jump right in to the front yard garden here at my
tiny house homestead. (Music playing) So, one year ago this was just a front
lawn. Just grass growing and no food growing
at all. One year later, pretty bountiful, lots growing on and I am going to show you
here today. So, right here, where I’m standing right
now, this is sort of the annual section. This is set up on drip irrigation. I’ve got collards, kales, swiss chard, different herbs growing here. Plantago, or broad leaf plantains, celery. So, this is one of my big green sections. We are kind of in the transition period right now between spring and summer, so a lot of this isn’t really filled out. I’ve recently planted peanuts and okra, some different peppers, and then I just planted a whole bunch of eggplant. These are really starting to produce, there are some really nice eggplants on here, and I’m excited about that. And then, I do a lot of perennial greens
as well. Right here, this is one that I’m pretty excited about at the moment, this is
called chaya. Chaya is a superfood, and you can see, I mean, look at the size of this mess of
greens! This is some serious greens, here. Right here is New Zealand spinach, also a perennial, that means it just keeps coming
back and coming back. Over here, is surinam spinach growing. This one is a nice tender one, super
productive. I have a papaya tree, here. So far, that’s been a slow grower, but finally getting some papayas from this. Then there is, this is called the curry plant or the curry tree plant. This is katuk. This will get into a nice big bush. I just planted moringa, here. Also called the tree of life or the vitamin tree. At my other garden you will see some big examples of that. Here is pigeon pea or gandule. And this has been super productive. And then here is amaranth. So, amaranth
is a great crop. This is self- seeding, all I did was
scatter some seeds and you can see it all over the garden,
now. If you just look into my hand you can see all those little black or dark brown
seeds. So that’s a grain. That’s called amaranth. Now, also in this section, this is the
native pollinator section. So, this is all flowers that are native to
Florida, and that are great for bees, butterflies, all the beneficial insects you want in the garden and that we want to support. Over here, this is the community fruit tree, this is the mullberry. So this tree has been planted for a year. Just running out of mulberries for the season but there was a nice crop. And then, right here, this is some of the yuca that is left, or cassava. Most of that has been eaten in this yard but I’m going to show you some of those
plots. My three main staples as far as calories, are sweet potato, yuca or cassava, and
yam. I’ll talk about all of those today. I’m
going to show you where I grew about 400 pounds of sweet potato in this small
little area. So, this little patch, right here, maybe less than 10 feet by maybe 20 feet, I grew about 400 pounds of sweet potato. Which was about a 3 month supply of eating a lot of sweet potatoes! So, I have replanted them here. And you can see they are starting to come up. This is probably 6 weeks to 8 weeks old and I hope to get another couple hundred pounds out of this area. Now, typically, you are not supposed
to plant the same crop in the same spot, but I’m a beginner, still making some beginner
mistakes. We will see how that works out. I’ll at least only do it once. Also, the leaves of the greens of sweet potato are super nutritious. This is one of the plants that I would recommend
growing the most. So, I mentioned that we are moving into
summer, so it is a difficult time. Summer is really the time when a lot of gardeners in central Florida just take off, especially people who grow a lot of
annuals. Just because the heat and the humidity is so brutal. So a lot of, I really harvested a lot of food already and I stored the bounty. The spring was really just a busy time and I have stored a lot of that, so I’m going to take you back to the tiny house and show you what I
have stored. So, this here is the dried good section. And I’ve got a lot stored away here. Just going to show you a whole bunch of
it. I’ve got thyme, oregano, tarragon, red pepper, green pepper, yaupon holly, which is my tea. It’s the yerba mate of North
America. I’ve got ginger and turmeric and garlic cloves and holy basil, dill, cilantro,
coriander. Lots of great stuff here. I want to show you a few things in particular right now. One of the great things is, I’ve been making, well this, in particular, is
moringa powder. And this is one of the most nutrient
dense plants on earth. So this is basically like my vitamins. I, obviously, for this year, of growing
and foraging all of my food, no vitamins, no supplements, none of that. So this right here is my natural vitamin. One spoonful of this a day is just
amazing. So, that comes from the moringa tree. I also make other green powders. Garlic, you can see right here some of my garlic cloves. The garlic did really well and I have some garlic here as well. People say you can’t grow garlic in
Florida, but since if I couldn’t grow garlic, I couldn’t eat garlic, I had to grow
garlic! And I am happy to say that it did really
well. I’ve got my sea salt here. And this is from harvesting from the ocean, boiling it down, and I’m left with the salt after the water evaporates. Coconut oil, right here, this is all I have. So far coconut oil has been kind of a big failure. But I am hoping to succeed with that. So for the last six and a half months, I really have had almost no oil in my life. I’ve got my medicines as well. Reishi mushroom from foraging, elderberry from foraging as well. It’s the time of year where I’m going to go out and get loads of elderberry. And I’m really happy to report that so far I haven’t been sick at all. There’s been difficult times, but I have not been sick yet and my medicines that I forage and I grow have been a huge part of
that. Speaking of medicine, here is honey. You saw that I did really well with honey last fall. My bees are doing great and I am hoping to have a spring harvest, I just checked them out last night and there is probably, there’s quite a few jars on honey in there, so I’m pretty
excited. This right here, is garlic preserved in honey. So this is a great medicine
right there. And up here are the pigeon peas and the southern peas. So really great protein
source. I’ve also been making flour. And I haven’t really used this, yet. I’m just getting to the point of really experimenting with this, but this is the yuca or the cassava flour. First I fermented it and I am going to, hopefully make some flatbread from that. This is banana flour, using the green
bananas. And then this is going to be yam flour. So, yam dehydrated, shredded and dehydrated and then I’m leaving it, rather than making it into a flour, it’s better to store it this way because it will stay good for longer. Less exposure to oxygen. So, this will be ground up into a flour, so I’ve got a whole bunch of this, so really excited about those! Right now the freezer is pretty full. I actually removed some things and set them aside to make it a little less cluttered so I can actually show you what is in here. I’m pretty happy with the amount of food I have stored away. I’m going to show you a couple of the different things
that I do. So, I freeze a lot of fruit. This is white sapote. I freeze papaya, this summer I’ll be harvesting a lot of mango, out foraging. This is more white sapote. Bananas from foraging. And then I also have, from the spring, Suriname cherries. So there is a whole bunch of different fruit. I make a lot of smoothies with
this fruit. And then, another thing that I do, is I make green juice. So last time around I made about 12 green juices all at once. So I can just have the in the freezer and just take one out each day and thaw it and that saves me a lot of work. I do the same with meals. I’m trying to do a lot of meal prep to reduce the amount of time in the kitchen and be more
efficient. So this is yam and pigeon peas and greens and herbs all mixed together and I can just take this out, throw it in my backpack and have it later if I’m travelling, or just wake up in the morning, take it out and have it unthawed for lunch and then reheat it. So, doing a lot of meal prep, that’s really been beneficial. I have to say, never did I expect to be using plastic bags. You saw that I have some of these reusable bags, but it would be hundreds of hundreds of dollars to use all of those reusable bags. And so, I found myself using plastic bags, which I never thought I’d go back to, but it’s one of the challenges of this project. There’s a big difference between being zero waste and just being able to go to the grocery store once a week or a couple times a week, and being what you would call self sufficient and storing lots of food. As you can see, I store a lot of food in jars, but it’s difficult, I mean, they are just nowhere near as space efficient, and anyway, so that’s one of my challenges. But I am reusing these. These bags are, I caught a fish called bowfin and I smoked them and made individual servings that I can pull out. And I’ve eaten about 10 or so species of fish. Mullet is one of the main ones. So fish is one of my main sources of
protein, along with the pigeon peas, and southern peas and then tons of protein from the greens as well, just eating so much
greens. So, there is a lot going on in this
freezer! A lot of stuff I’m pretty excited about. I’m going to show you my seminole pumpkins
now. If you saw some of my earlier videos and photos you would have seen this whole shelf was pretty much seminole pumpkins. I had, I think, 5 whole shelves. I’m down to just this one, but I have to say how magical these are because, no air conditioning in this house, it’s hot! We’re going through, right now, an almost record breaking heat wave for May. It’s been about 95 to 97 every day for the last few days and these seminole pumpkins are a year old. These are pumpkins that I harvested last summer. And so these have lasted through the whole winter and fall and into the summer, now, in this heat. Seminole pumpkins, they are truly amazing. Now, you can see here, this one has actually been eaten by cockroaches,
unfortunately. And the pumpkin, itself, is still good. It just shows how resilient these things
are! I think these things could possibly store for two plus years in a house with air conditioning and a pantry of sorts. The cockroaches, yeah, they’re not a major problem, but they have been a little bit of a problem. Two nights one got into bed with me, which was just not fun. And the other day I was drinking a smoothie and I tasted something, or I felt something chewy. At first I thought it must be, I spit it out, and I thought “Oh, it’s just some roselle that didn’t get blended.” So I put it back in my mouth, I ate it, and then I was drinking my smoothie more and I felt something again and it was a cockroach leg and I realized that wasn’t roselle that was a freaking cockroach! And then it was like, what do I do? Do I waste the smoothie? And I just thought, I’m not making another smoothie so I still drank the whole thing but that just makes me a little queasy thinking
about it. So I’m currently battling the cockroaches a little bit, and going to find some natural ways to get rid of those. But here in Florida, whether you are living in a tiny house, like this, or in a house with air conditioning and all that, I know a lot of people that are dealing
with cockroaches. So, speaking of the heat of summer, fermentation, another problem right now. I did great with fermentation through the
winter, but the thing about fermenting is that somewhere in the mid 70’s or so is the, sort of the best temperature, fahrenheit, that is. You know, up in the mid 90’s. fermentation is, it’s just not the time for that for most of this. This is my jun. And I’ll show you, this has got a nice layer of mold. Not a nice layer of mold, really, I mean. And so, I think I’m done with most fermenting for the summer. I think I’m just going to be taking it
off. It’s been a little hard and doing this without a refrigerator is another thing. I mean I have the freezer, but without a refrigerator it’s really challenging. If I do this project again, I’m probably going to need to do, not need to, but I’m going to do it with a refrigerator. So, since last time, I did come up with a way to preserve the food for a little longer to keep it cooler. And I’m pretty excited about that. I feel like I’ve said I am excited about a lot of things, but I am. But, I am going to take you outside to my little place to store ferments. So in temperate climates they use root
cellars. But in Florida that doesn’t really work because of our shallow water table, and probably some other things that I am just not super knowledgeable on. But I was able to do a minor cellar, here. And the idea is to keep things cooler using the insulation of the ground. So, I haven’t opened this for a few weeks but this is somewhat cool to the touch. So, it does still seem to be working, even thought it’s 95 degrees outside
this looks good, and is pretty cool to the touch. So, this is looking good. I don’t know if these can really last for the summer, but at least for a while, and then I’ve also got my vinegars in here. And it feels and looks pretty good, so you know, this is all still an experiment for me. This is the first time I’ve built a little
cellar. Now, I’m also using a cooler, and putting ice packs in there, that I take out of the
freezer. So, I’m going to show you that, as well. So, here is the cooler. And it’s nice and cool around the back
side of my house, so this is a good spot for it. And it’s still cool in here and I haven’t put new ice in here for about 4 days. So it’s looking pretty good. And there is the sauerkraut. So, looks great. Doesn’t look discoloured or anything like that. And the main thing I am doing is just freezing a big block. And that stays
cooler for longer. You know that’s the difficulty, one of the difficulties I’m dealing with. Keeping
things cool. But doing an alright job. Now here, this is the wild yam. Dioscorea alata, the genus in species. These yams get up to 150 pounds in the
wild. And this is one of my great sources of
calories. This is what I made the yam flour out of. I cooked this up. You use it just like you would potatoes. And on the outside it looks pretty rough, but just
scratching it back, you can see nice white flesh inside there. It’s similar to potatoes. You can cook it any way you would, making mashed yam, boiled yam, baked yam, any of those
sorts of things. So, I harvest this from the wild. And that is good stuff! My friends and I harvested over 100 pounds in a few hours a couple weeks ago. I mentioned my sweet potatoes are done, which is a little sad. I mean, I just love sweet potatoes. I have just
a little bit left of these purple ones that I’m saving to make a nice meal because they are just a beautiful colour. And I’ve got some sweet potatoes that I’m
just letting grow. That’s how you plant sweet potatoes, is just by letting the slips grow out,
you pluck those off and you plant them. Now, up here, I do a lot of foraging for
bananas, so let me take these off, so you can actually see. I have been dealing with some possums hanging around, you know, they are just around and I don’t blame them, this is their land, as well, but I am trying to keep them from eating my bananas. So, this is the little solution that I
have for that. And, oh ya, I haven’t pulled these off for about 48 hours so it’s looking like time to harvest a bunch of these and freeze
them. And, so these are all from foraging. Bananas are growing wild around central
Florida. You know, formally domesticated, they are not native to here, but spread
throughout in different places, like abandoned homesteads or areas where they just got dropped in the woods, not the bananas, themselves, but the
corms. So, bananas, definitely one of my favorite foods. So great to be able to
have those. Let me take you through the kitchen now. Right now we are in a very dry spell. The rainy season is coming soon, hopefully in the next couple of weeks. And right now the rain barrels are the lowest they have ever been, but I have not run out of rainwater yet, which is really great. This is my Berkey filter where, I harvest the rain off the roof, filter it through this, and that’s my main source of
drinking water. So, I haven’t run out yet! And back here,
is where I store the coconuts. I harvest the coconuts from coastal
Florida. Southern Florida is much better, Fort
Lauderdale and Fort Myers have been my two main areas, and I use these for making coconut milk, coconut flakes, drinking the water, just eating it as a snack. This is definitely one of my main sources of calories, of protein, of fats. It’s also how I’m going to be making my oil when I finally champion that. So, really important source of food down here for me this year. And then, of course, a lot of you have been asking, what about my meals? How am I putting all this together into
foods? That’s probably the main question, the main thing a lot of you are wondering. So I’m going to share a lot of the main meals that I make with you. Seminole pumpkin, carrot and coconut soup. I make a lot of, either, sweet potato,
yuca, or yam, along with greens, and pigeon peas. I make a lot of collard wraps. And that can be collard wraps with yuca
and fish, or collard wraps with seminole pumpkin. I often make large batches of pigeon peas and then freeze them and then I can add
those to any meal. One of my absolute favorite meals is green papaya and coconut curry. And I don’t make that as often, because it is a little more time intensive, but
it’s one of my absolute favorite meals. I make coconut milk a lot. And that is used as the base for different soups and meals as well as smoothies. I make a lot of green juice. Which is just whatever greens are abundant at that time. I make tea on many days, and that is a mixture of yaupon holly or green tea, reishi mushroom, turmeric and ginger, mint, and holy basil. For breakfast, on main days, I make
smoothies. Or any time of day, and that consists mostly of whatever fresh fruits are abundant at that time of year. There is usually coconut in it to give it a nice
creaminess. And then often mango, sapodilla, starfruit, banana, papaya. Usually I will throw some greens in there, like moringa powder. So, that’s some of the most common meals that I have been making. And now, I want to take you to some of the other locations where I am growing food to make those meals. So, this is my other, main front yard
garden. And I’ve just arrived. You can see on my bike trailer, I am carrying this 55 gallon
drum. The reason being, is that right now, I’m having a little bit of trouble with
fertility. I started off with mushroom compost and have lost fertility. I have not,
honestly, been thinking long term enough. Hadn’t really focused on it, had a little bit too much going on, and noticed some of my plants not doing as well. So now I am going to be working on fertility. It’s
been something I’ve been focusing on over the last 2 months. Right next to me is Tithonia, also called Bolivian sunflower, and what I am going to do is just chop a bunch of this down, stick it into this barrel, fill that with rainwater and then let it, I don’t know if it would be ferment, or degrade in
there. And that makes a, I guess you could call that a compost tea, or a fertilizer. I just did that back at my other garden and now I’m going to be doing it here to really boost those plants and make them
healthy. So, I am going to show you the garden! (sounds of foot steps) So, again, not that long ago, just a year and a half ago, this was just a front lawn growing nothing but grass and
no food. And after some work and some love, this has produced thousands of dollars worth of
food. Right now it’s not at it’s full glory. We are in a transition from spring to
summer stage. And so, what I did, is I set this up for
summer. The summers here are brutal. The weeds just come on strong. I wanted to set myself up for not a back breaking summer, so I planted easy to grow foods, that cover the areas. So I did a deep mulching that will keep the weeds back, and then I’m planting foods that will really cover
the ground. So, sweet potato is the big one. That’s this whole area in front of me. Seminole pumpkin, okra, eggplant,
sunflower, peanut and roselle. So, there won’t be a huge diversity in this garden through the summer but there will definitely be some good crops and some good calories. I want to tell you a little bit about what I’ve had great success with in this garden as well as some failures. Right here, I’ve got the papaya trees. They have produced hundreds of pounds of papayas, and I planted these from seed when I started this garden. Right here are two pepper plants. I got this ghost pepper here, I believe it
is ghost. And these things are just, I mean, I think they are some of the spiciest peppers on
earth. So I am not sure how I am going to use
these. Now this pepper plant, here, is what I have really been using. Just look at all the peppers there! I have harvested probably over a thousand peppers from this plant, and this has just been producing since this garden first
started. So, Moringa has just been an absolute
success! This is what I make the Moringa
powder out of, a superfood, the tree of life, one of the greatest plants on earth. Here is something that I am pretty excited
about! And this is my first rack of bananas! Pretty excited about these. And then, back here, is katuk, and this is another really great perennial green. I highly recommend the perennial greens. And this is one that does extremely well. So, I’ve definitely had my successes and my failures. My beets, for example, total
failure this year. My carrots, on the other hand, I got about 50 pounds that I put in the freezer and have stored away. So, I’ve had challenges with lack of
fertility, not enough sunshine in the winter, the
heat, and too much sunshine in the summer. But overall, I’ve had a huge abundance of
food. And, really, one of the great examples of that is yuca, or cassava. I have just a bank of calories in the ground throughout the neighborhood. I have yuca behind me. I have planted that in six different spots. So, I’ve just barely tapped into the yuca that I’ve planted and that’s basically my little neighborhood grocery store, my little calorie bank, or my large calorie bank, that keeps me going. So, those calories are obviously extremely important in maintaining my weight. You might be wondering, have I lost weight? In the first couple of months, I lost
about 3 pounds. Since then, I’ve maintained my weight. I’m about 150 pounds, and started off at
about 153. So, doing good there. Health wise, I definitely feel really good. So, overall, everything is going really great in that regard. And that’s this garden. Before saying goodbye , let’s head back to
my place for a quick stop. So, spring was beautiful, but it was also
rough! It was a very busy time. In the average week I was spending 40 to 60 hours on
food, maybe more. And it was tiring. There were many nights where I was up until 1:00 am preserving food, whether it was in the dehydrator or freezing, processing, I mean it was time
consuming. That, and there was a huge amount of media that was happening, so I was doing all
this, plus so much media. National Geographic came down, which was
awesome! And, now, we’ve moved away from spring, I’ve got so much food stored, and summer
time is definitley going to be the slow time. Things have really slowed down already in the last couple weeks. Also, taking a break from all that media, will probably do that again in the fall, but things have slowed down and I have really been able to be much more present
with the plants. Taking the time with the plants, and it’s really been, truly, a world away from that
busy spring. I’m really excited for summer! Rainy season is coming. That’s going to mean mushrooms are going to be popping
out. Mango season is coming, as well. And, this is the first time I’m talking about this, but I am also really excited to say I’m actually going to take a trip
this summer! Probably for between a month and 2
months, I’m going to go up North. So, how is that going to go? We’ll see. I won’t have a garden for that whole 4 to 8 weeks. So, I’m going to have to carry a lot of food with me. And I’m going to have to do a lot of
foraging. I’m going to be up in the Northwoods, up in Wisconsin, which is my homeland, and I just can’t tell you how drawn I feel to my homeland. To connecting with the land there, to learning the foods that I
can forage there. And I just feel this strong urge and strong desire to go up there. So, again, today is day 200. I’m just past the half way mark, and I have to be honest, this has been extremely
difficult. It has not been easy. But it has also just been so rewarding and I have learned so much! One of the reasons that it’s been so difficult is because I am learning. I went into this, you know, never having grown food in the state of Florida. Having very little growing and foraging experience, altogether, and 10 months from zero to growing 100 percent in Florida, that’s one of the reasons that this has
been so hard. So, the good news for you, is if you are enjoying this adventure and you are learning a lot, I still have another 165
days. So, if you are inspired, and you are gaining a lot of education from this, then I recommend subscribing and, also, helping get this message out there. Hit that
‘like’ button, leave a comment, ask questions, and I’ll try to get to most of them, and share this with friends! So, love you all very much. It’s been great spending the day with you and I’ll see you all again very soon! Bye bye! Subtitles by the Amara.org community