Small Acreage Homesteading Guide
Face reality, unless you are super rich putting back more than six months to a one-year food supply, isn’t practical, and even if you have the cash to spend, finding room for storage and the constant dating and rotating become the next obstacle, and this can get quickly become unmanageable.
For most preppers the goal should be a one-year food storage reserve, this should see you through most disasters, but you should also plan and work toward becoming as self-reliant as possible where you are. If you can grow and forage for all or most of your own food then you can survive for decades if need be, and eat healthier too.
In this article, I will cover some key points learned from my experience running a small homestead and providing most of my own food for over a decade. This includes gardening, foraging, and raising domestic livestock as well as tips on preserving the bounty of your harvest.
Self-Sufficiency Starts with the Survival Workshop
The ability to use tools has been a major contributing factor to our survival and growth as a species, but unfortunately, that ability has turned into a specialty skill set in our increasingly dumbed-down, in the call, “the guy” for everything that needs fixing in the world that we now live in. Unfortunately, for some calling “the guy” may not be an option during a long-term disaster. You will be “the guy” and if it breaks you will probably be the one who has to fix it, and aside from the obvious of needing to know what you are doing, you will also need the correct tools to do the job effectively.
Nothing beats hands-on learning and experience, and you can get that by signing up for any courses available in your area. Look into welding, woodworking, auto mechanics etc. learn all you can, because skills will be needed for your own use and well as being an excellent barter item that no one can steal from you.
You can often get free training, by offering your help to local businesses that specialize in the skills that you want to learn. Tell them that you would like to offer your help free in exchange for them helping you learn those skills. As long as they know that, you are not trying to learn, so that you can then set up as competition later, most will welcome the offer.
As for what tools you will need that really depends on your skills in using those tools, once you gain skills you will know also know what tools you need in your toolbox. But not matter what tool you buy always buy the very best quality that you can afford – low-quality tools often break during use and cause all kinds of cursing, disappointment, and unfinished work.
Another thing to keep in mind when selecting and buying tools is that power from the utility might not be available, therefore hand tools that run on muscle power and sweat should be given top priority, in the prepper’s toolbox, and then rechargeable tools that can be charged via solar or generator power.
The Prepper’s Garden
When it comes to gardening everyone seems to have their own ideas as to what is “the best” method, and they all could be right because different methods are required for different situations and locations, but never the less the basics are still the same. You start with a seed, seedling, or cutting, plant it, nurture it, harvest it, and eventually eat it.
Generally, you will need a fertile soil with a pH-balanced level of between 6.5. – 7, well drained, with six or more hours of direct sunlight, and fresh water to grow a healthy, productive garden. If you can provide this type of growing environment, then the plants will do well without much else from you.
With the survival garden, your goal should be to grow as much produce as possible, on the least space as possible, while doing the least amount of work as possible. Remember minimum effort and the maximum reward is the goal because if you burn more calories planting and tending your garden than you get back from the harvest, you then have a negative return for your effort, which goes again the rules of human survival.
I have found a mix of close planting (sometimes called French intensive) and Ruth Stout’s method as detailed in her book gardening without work, works very well for me, producing an abundant harvest with little effort on my part.
With Ruth Stout’s gardening method you simply keep a thick layer of mulch (usually hay, straw or leaves) on the garden at all times, this keeps down weeds and automatically builds the soil and adds nutrients back as it decays. As it decays into the soil, you simply add more mulch, keeping it at a consistent level to keep smoother weed growth.
There is no need to build and turn a compost pile, or plow, sow a cover crop, weed, and seldom have to water, or do anything else besides adding mulch and plants to grow a productive garden.
The only fertilizers that I use are manure tea, cottonseed, or soybean meal, and then only need small amounts these, especially after the first couple of years once the soil has time to become fertile from constantly rotting mulch. To plant you simply pull back the mulch and plant the seeds, cutting or seedlings as you normally would in any garden.
And that’s all there is to it, mulch, plant, let grow, rest, harvest.
Guerrilla gardening is a term used by local pot farmers, who have developed unique skills that allow them to raise the “illegal plants” in a secretive manner. However, before you get all excited with visions of easy money and smoke puffing from a freshly rolled marijuana cigarette, let me clear the smoke from the air, this article is not about growing the illegal weed; it is about growing secret food crops after a complete breakdown of the current system and WROL.
Having the traditional garden planted in rolls and in the open could make you the target of looters, scavengers, and thugs. Having your garden hidden and out of site could mean the difference between plenty and starvation after the balloon goes up.
Secret Grow Rooms
Secret grow rooms or greenhouses should be considered, all that is needed in most cases is to remove the roof from a garage or outbuilding and replace it with corrugated fiberglass. The walls can be painted white, or covered with aluminum foil, to help reflect light back onto the plants inside. From the outside, it just looks like any other outbuilding, while inside it hides an abundant garden.
Tables for plants can be made and rigged on pulleys, so the plants can be lifted closer to the roof providing more sunlight and lowered back down again for watering. Using this method, it would be difficult to grow enough to feed an entire family, but it could be done with proper planning and enough space. Most likely, the secret grow-room would be used to supplement other available food resources.
Order a copy of – Secret Greenhouse of Survival: How to Build the Ultimate Homestead & Prepper Greenhouse by Rick Austin for a full plan for setting up a secret greenhouse.
Many people have mentioned forest gardens; the idea has been around for a long time and could work well, for the survivor or a person bugging out to the forest. All you do is – find a suitable spot that is hidden, well drained, and open to sunlight. Dig up the soil, work in organic matter, or timed released fertilizers and plant.
If done right, such a garden can be largely self-maintaining requiring little effort by you after planting.
Avoid making trails to the garden area, people follow trails, and these will lead them directly to your garden, remember the harder it is for you to reach the gardens location the more likely no one else will even try.
Remove all signs of activity, like trash or freshly dug soil. Spread any loose dirt over the area covering any open spots with natural ground cover such as leaves. This also helps form mulch reducing the need for watering significantly. Try to make the garden area blend in with the surrounding forest as much as possible.
Step back and look at the possible approach points, and remove anything that catches the eye. Remember to avoid making trails to and from the site by never going in or out the same way and using alternating entry points. Try to walk on hard surfaces as much as possible to avoid leaving tracks.
Some plants are easier to hide than others are; potatoes, for instance, would be easier to hide than say tomatoes or corn. Most people would pass within three feet of a potato patch and not recognize what they were looking at. Choosing plants that blend in with the surrounding is an important consideration for the secret survival gardener.
The Gardening Nomad
I know a guy who lived in a truck camper for years – he would move from one hide to another every couple of weeks, he had gardens strategically located all over the countryside. I do not know if they were all legal crops (probably not), but know that some of what he grew what he grew were food crops and he seemed to do very well, while living a very simple life, all without a lot of stress and worry.
Three Sisters of the Cherokee
Another growing technique that I recommend is “the three sisters“. This system has been used for thousands of years with great success in both North and South America by many “Indian” tribes and native people.
The three sisters consist of corn, squash, and beans that are planted in a circle, with corn in the center, then pole beans are then planted around the corn and then squash are planted around the outside. The pole beans help to put nitrogen back into the soil, which is great for the corn and squash. The beans climb up the corn, which acts as a natural trellis. The squash with its wide leaves help shade out weeds and reduces the need for watering. It all works together in a sort of mini garden ecosystem.
Perennials are my secret weapon against post-collapse hunger pains and starvation – planting perennials will allow you to have a continually replicating food supply, which will provide for you year after year with little effort on your part. Every prepper should establish a good variety of perennial edibles at their retreat.
I have established “gardens” of asparagus, Jerusalem artichokes, horseradish, garlic, perennial onions, and herbs scattered around my homestead. Once these perennials are planted, and established, they continue to grow and expand every year on their own with little or no help from you…
At the beginning of the growing season most gardeners, simply head to their nearest garden center, and pick up whatever seed packets that are being displayed on the shelf that year, or they skip the seeds and their germination altogether by purchasing seedlings and transplanting those directly into their garden.
And why this works well (sometimes) during “good times” when you can still rely on going back and getting new seed for planting a new crop each year, if you’re thinking in terms of long-term survival or saving your own seed from year to year, then you need to consider buying and stockpiling Non-Hybrid (Heirloom) vegetable seeds.
According to the good folks at Heirloom Organics:
Non-Hybrid or Open-Pollinated seeds allow the gardener to collect seeds from a crop for future planting. Hybrid seeds do not. Heirloom Organics Seed Packs are 100% Non-Hybrid and Non-GMO (genetically modified) and specially sealed for long-term storage. Use now AND save for an emergency. All from the same hermetically sealed pack!
And while this is true in most cases, saving seed from year-to-year that grows true, without negative genetic changes is a little more complicated than that. Some plant species, such as corn, okra, and spinach, for example, must “cross-pollinate” each year to remain strong and to be productive.
Constant inbreeding of cross-pollinating plans, even if they are of the non-hybrid variety will result in weak, non-productive plans after the first couple of years. Therefore, even if you start with pure non-hybrid, heirloom seed you cannot save the seed of cross-pollinating species, indefinitely without a negative change in the resulting offspring at some point, due to inbreeding of the plants.
The solution to this problem is to simply, buy enough seed to last several years, and stored in optimal conditions to ensure germination, or buy several different Non-Hybrid, Non-GMO varieties and cross-pollinate each year.
Now the good news, self-pollinating plant species such as bean, pepper, tomato, eggplant, garlic, and pea can be grown and the seeds saved year-after-year with little or no genetic change in growth, health, or overall production, allowing you to continually feed your family, now and during hard times.
Over the years, I have seen many folks express concerns about the germination rate of seeds that have been packaged for long-term storage, such as the Non-Hybrid vegetable seeds that are packaged and sold by Heirloom Organics and other seed vendors.
The main concern seems to be that the process and conditions of storing the seed long-term will somehow cause the seed to not germinate (sprout) when planted. After having tested these seeds and their germination rates over the past several years, and others have done the same with similar results, I can assure you that germination rates remain just as good as or better than seeds stored in a traditional fashion.
Putting back a supply of non-hybrid vegetable seed should be on the to-do list of every, gardener and that applies ten-fold for the “prepper” because we do not know what will happen, the result or how long the duration.
We can only store so much food, and after it is gone, you will have to produce your own or starve….
Fruits, Nuts, and Berries
Fruits, nuts, and berries are one of my favorite hedges against starvation because they can be planted once and then mostly take care of themselves after. However, the biggest benefit is that after planted and established they will come back and provide for years after without you having to do much in the way of care…
Plant it and forget it… well almost.
If you have an empty space on your property, then fill that space by planting a food bearing tree, vine, or shrub. To fill larger areas plant fruit and nut trees, and for smaller areas consider planting strawberries, raspberries, rhubarb, blueberries etc. No space should be left empty especially around a small homestead…
Let us start with fruit trees since these tend to produce the most food for the least amount of work. When choosing fruit trees, look either dwarf or semi-dwarf varieties depending on the space you have available. Never plant a dwarf tree if you have room for a semi-dwarf variety, the semi-dwarf trees grow to a larger size and thus they will produce more fruit under the same growing conditions, they are also more winter hardy, and live longer.
It’s also a good idea to plant a variety of different trees, shrubs and vines that produce different types of fruit, nuts, and berries, i.e. apple, pear, peach, plum, cherry, blackberry, blueberry, raspberry etc. This will not only provide you with more variety at the table, it will also act as insurance against pest and disease that might attack one variety or plant but not another.
Also, when planting apple trees, I suggest that you plant both summer and winter varieties, as you might have assumed summer varieties mature and are ready for harvest before the winter varieties which makes it easier to harvest and preserve the fruit because it’s not all ready for harvest all at once.
As for planting instructions, I am not going to get into that here simply because the details can vary slightly depending on location and type. You will find that the planting instructions for your location will come with the trees, shrubs, and vines when you buy them at the nursery, if not ask.
When choosing varieties for cross-pollination, you can use the free tool at www.orangepippintrees.com/pollinationchecker.aspx to help you make the correct choices. Also, ask at the nursery when you buy your fruit trees for their advice on pollination and their recommendations.
I recommend that before planting your first tree, shrub or vine that you order a copy of The Fruit Gardener’s Bible: A Complete Guide to Growing Fruits and Nuts in the Home Garden by Lewis Hill this is a great book that is dedicated to the subject, and will cover everything that you need to know and then some.
Fruit Tree Pruning Instructions – dormant pruning is done in late fall or winter when the leaves have fallen off.
Practical Domestic Animals and Poultry
When choosing which domestic animals to keep for food, look for those that require the least time and effort to care for. As I explained in the gardening section above, when surviving, you do not want to put in more effort, and thus, burn more calories, then you are going to get back upon consumption.
Look for animals that can generally take care of themselves, like with anything else that you do when trying to survive look for the most reward for the least effort. For example, you do not want to exert 1000 calories, searching for an egg that you are only going to get 78 calories from. If you do this for consistently, then you are ensuring a slow withering death from malnutritions.
No section on raising domestic animals for food would be complete without taking a closer look at raising chickens. Chickens are usually the first thought that pops into a person’s head when they think about farming or homesteading and for good reason.
Really the only downside to raising chickens is the initial startup costs of having to build a coop and feeders and watering containers, after that the cost per bird is extremely low, especially if your let them free-range so that they can forage for most of their own food.
Your main concern will be keeping them safe from predators because everything loves to eat chicken, including but not limited to foxes, raccoons, coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, owls, hawks, domestic dogs, domestic cats and everything else that likes to eat meat. The best way to keep them safe is to keep
them inside a well-made coop with a securely fenced in outside run, but this means that you’ll have to feed them more because they generally won’t be able to forage for the bulk of their food when confined to such a limited space.
As a compromise, I keep my chickens inside the coop with access to the eight by twenty-five foot run most of the day and let them out to forage of the evenings about two hours before dark. They generally stay within seventy-five yards of the coop, and will go back in to roost before dark. After they are all in I’ll go lock the door to the coop, to keep any predators out and the chickens’ safe inside.
When building your coop seal any openings uptight, even a small hole can give a hungry predator a way in – some will even use a small opening as a starting point that they can enlarge by chewing until they can squeeze inside.
When building your run, you will want to use treated wood for longevity, and to dig a trench six or more inches deep to bury that length of the wire in the ground to prevent predators from digging in under the fencing. I also like to pile rocks all the way around the coop and run – so far, this has worked great and I have never had a predator that has gotten inside the coop or run by digging.
Another thing to keep in mind is that chicken wire by itself is weak, and will not keep a large determined predator out. When I built my first chicken coop and run, I had two stray dogs that managed to rip through the chicken wire and into the coop. Luckily, I was at home and stopped them before they were able to do any more damage.
After that incident, I have always re-enforced the bottom three feet of chicken wire around the run by covering it with welded-wire. This has been very effective at keeping larger predators out and the chickens’ safe inside. My coop is almost finished in the photo above.
Having an outside dog (one that will not kill chickens) is also a great help at keeping your flock safe and for security in general. A good dog will keep watch and run predators off when they wonder into the area before they have a chance to find their way into your coop.
When choosing a type of chicken for survival purposes, look for dual-purpose breeds that are both good egg layers and meat producers. You will also want to choose breeds that go broody and that are good mothers so that you can raise additional birds to replace those that are eaten.
Note: hens will continue to lay eggs, even without a rooster but those eggs will not be fertile and with not hatch producing offspring.
My five most recommended breeds for preppers are the Black Australorp, Rhode Island Red, Dominique, Plymouth Rock, and Wyandotte. These breeds meet all of the criteria listed above and are easy to find or order in most areas and easy to care for.
When you start raising chickens, you will find that it is easy to be carried away with the result being that you end up with more birds than you need. For most preppers, a flock consisting of ten hens and two roosters works out well. The extra rooster acts as a “backup” should something happen to the other, allowing your hens to keep producing offspring.
You can find a wealth of free information detailing everything that you could possibly want to know about raising chickens, breeding, medical issues, coop building etc. However, to be honest, it is not that hard and if it is then you are doing it wrong.
Remember look for a maximum reward for the least effort, once you get your coop built it should only take about ten minutes per day to take care of your flock.
I used to keep a few ducks around, and plan to add ten or more back into my flock this coming spring when I can buy day-old ducklings from the local Tractor Supply or Farmers CO-OP, and eventually, I may completely replace my flock of chickens with ducks.
Ducks are smarter than chickens and are better foragers that can find most of their own food, and they are less disease prone and seem to attract fewer predators. Ducks lay just as many eggs as chickens, but the eggs taste better and are larger. They are also better mothers to their young.
Many preppers make the mistake of thinking that they must have a large pond or another body of water on their property to keep ducks, and while the ducks do enjoy that setting, it is not necessary. All that I ever used were several “kiddie pools” that I kept full of water around my property and the ducks thrived.
Since ducks like to poop in the water, you will need to pour it out every week or so and replace it with fresh water. The water from the pools makes an excellent fertilizer that can be poured around your fruit and nut trees.
If the goal is to put meat on the table then you should start building your rabbit hutches now. Rabbits meet or exceed all of the criteria that I previously mentioned about choosing animals that easy to keep and cheap to feed because they do well on nothing more than, fresh dry grass clippings, hay, unused produce from the garden, salt, and fresh water.
I also like to add a hand full of commercial feed pellets for each rabbit every couple of day to round out their diet. This becomes more important during the winter months when fresh grass clippings and hay are not as readily available.
Housing for rabbits is a simple matter; all they need is protection from predators and from harsh weather conditions. Do a web search and you will find a wealth of free hutch building plans, these range from basic but functional to major projects costing several hundred dollars. My preference is to keep it simple and cheap.
You will have to keep the male “buck” separate from the females until you are ready for them to breed. After the female has been breed, remove the male and put him back in his cage. Females are usually ready to breed at around ten months old and will usually bear from eight to fourteen young after a short thirty-day gestation period.
The offspring can be slaughtered after nine weeks and the doe then rebreed again. As you can see if you do the math, one buck and five does can produce a lot of meat quickly. Just don’t make the mistake of eating only rabbit meat – rabbit meat is too lean and humans need some fat to survive and a diet consisting of only rabbit meat by itself does not provide enough fat to keep a human body healthy over the long-term.
If you have enough land to provide the bulk of food and space for larger domestic animals like hogs and cows, then these can prove a huge benefit and should be considered. These larger animals can provide hundreds of pounds of meat, or as is the case with the cow can also provide milk, cheese, and related products as well as meat when slaughtered.
Goats are a great alternative to the cows and are much easier to care for and will find most of the own food if left free to forage over a large enough area. However, keep in mind that they can kill trees, and native foliage, and will eat your garden, flowerbed or just about anything else that they are allowed to get into.
Since this is not a dedicated book on how to care for and harvest domestic animals, I am going to suggest that you order two books – Barnyard in Your Backyard: A Beginner’s Guide to Raising Chickens, Ducks, Geese, Rabbits, Goats, Sheep, and Cattle by Gail Damerow and Basic Butchering of Livestock & Game by John J. Mettler. These two books will cover everything that you need to know to successfully raise and butcher domestic livestock and poultry.
Bees and Honey
Honeybees have been vanishing at an alarming rate, with losses of upwards of 40% of bee colonies worldwide over the past few years. In addition, while no one seems to agree on the cause, we can all agree that the loss of our honeybees will throw our ecosystem out of balance, making it more difficult or impossible to grow enough food to support the earth’s current population.
Personally, I believe that the predominant cause of this hive die-off is due to the increased planting of GMO crops and especially the use of chemical pesticides that the bees carry back to the hive, causing death and eventual hive collapse.
Having one or two beehives can produce 25 to 50 pounds of honey per year if the hive is healthy and well managed. If you want to keep a hive or two at your homestead, the first thing that you should do is to go talk to a local beekeeper that already has established hives.
These experienced bee keeps can give you some great pointers on keeping bees in your area and the dangers to look out for, and possibly sell you everything that you need to get started.
Foraging For Wild Foods
Foraging for wild foods via hunting, fishing, trapping, and gathering of edible plants and nuts can go a long way toward ensuring your survival after the balloon goes up if you are prepared and have the needed skills to do so.
You need to learn how to hunt, trap, and fish as well as how to recognize and prepare the edible plants and nuts that are abundant in your area.
Granted it’s impossible to teach someone to hunt by writing about it in a book, you need to get out and do it to learn, but you can pick up a few tips and some how-to-do-it knowledge from reading and watching other people hunt on the Outdoor channel.
Generally, trapping is more efficient than hunting especially for those just starting out; traps can be set and work without you having to be there. Set it, leave it, come back, and check it once a day to remove caught game, rebait the trap or both.
You can use the free time to do other needed chores like tending your garden or setting more traps. Harvesting wild game for the stewpot is an excellent long-term survival strategy as long as you do not plan to live off harvested wild game exclusively. Wild game should be considered as only one link, in your food resupply chain, and not as the whole chain.
You must have variable and independent sources of resupply, lined up and ready to go. I have seen too many preppers, who plan to rely 100% on their stored foods. They have no resupply chain, and if the crisis lasts longer than their food stockpile, then they are out of luck.
Plus your stockpile might be looted, burnt, blown away or destroyed a hundred other ways, so please don’t put all of your eggs in one basket, so to speak. Plan on losing your main food supply, and make plans that will allow you to keep on feeding your family, regardless of how empty your storage shelves become.
To start, you will need to learn the basics of setting both store-bought and homemade traps. To help you in both areas, I suggest that you order copies of The New Buckshot’s Complete Survival Trapping Guide by Bruce Hemming, Survival Poaching by Ragnar Benson and The Modern Hunter-Gatherer: A Practical Guide to Living off the Land by Tony Nester.
However you’ll still need to get up and off of your rear-end and actually go outside, and do it. You will need to practice, practice and then practice some more because most animals are smarter than the average human trying to trap them is.
There are other good how-to-do-it trapping books available, but the three are my top recommendations. Just do not think that you are an expert or proficient trapper just because you read a book, you are not.
You have to get outside and DO IT!
As for trap and gear recommendations, I suggest that you lay in a good supply of small game snares, you can make your own snares, but I’ve found that it’s just as cost effective to order them pre-made in bulk than to make your own, especially when you consider your time.
The Dakota line Rabbit Snares are a perfect size and weight for trapping small game like rabbit, squirrel, and pheasant. Larger game can also be taken (easily I might add) with snares, but you will have to make your own, heavyweight snares for this (disclaimer: check and follow game laws… yadda, yadda, yadda), full details on snaring large game are given in the pages of Survival Poaching, that I linked to above.
My next trap recommendation is the 110 Single Spring Body Trap, these are perfect for rabbit, and squirrel sized game, and can be set without a setting tool by most people. When setting these traps, it is a good idea to use a Safety Grip Tool, for your safety.
These traps work by snapping shut with enough force to kill the animal with a blow to the neck, and they have enough power to break your hand if the trap is accidentally tripped while setting it.
One of the easiest and often most productive places to forage for food are in lakes and streams. While everyone knows about fishing with a pole, line, and hook, most people never consider methods such as trapping, spearing, gigging, or shooting fish (check your state’s game and fish laws yadda, yadda, yadda) despite the fact that these methods are often far more effective.
First, let us talk about “fishing” after all this is the first thing that most people think of when “catching fish” is mentioned. It is easy to tie a line with hook and bait to a pole and toss the line into the water and wait for something to bite.
Alternatively, to make a “hobo fishing reel” which is really just a soda, soup can or stick with fishing line wrapped around it. While this simple setup will not win any contests for “showiness”, it can be put together in a couple of minutes and is effective enough to put food on the table if the fish are biting.
When riding an ATV or backpacking into the backcountry, I like to fish the abandoned farm ponds, and remote streams, that can be found in my area. I like to take a collapsible fishing rod or the voyager spinning travel kit with me, both work very well and don’t get in the way when riding or hiking in wooded areas like a traditionally fixed fishing rod would.
These types of rods will work great in a bug out kit and for foraging the waters away from your home or retreat after a disaster or TEOTWAWKI. Just be careful not to get so preoccupied with fishing that you become oblivious to your surroundings, and are taken by surprise by someone who may have bad intentions.
In this type of situation, after the stuff has hit the fan it is best not to go out alone if possible. When you’re alone it’s nearly impossible to do a task, such as fishing and stay 100% aware of your surroundings 100% of the time. Having an armed lookout, placed in a concealed location to watch your six is a good idea.
Ditto for other post-disaster, chores as well stay alert and if possible, post a lookout to watch your back.
For mobile fishing tackle, I keep it simple, a few assorted hooks, some split-shot sinkers, a few small artificial lures, and a couple small bobbers. This simple yet basic fishing gear is small and lightweight while still being effective for freshwater fish like bluegill and sunfish.
Another type of “fishing reel” that I have grown fond of using is the Yo-Yo Fishing Reels. Several of these can be set and left alone while you go take care of other chores, like setting up camp or building a fire, and let’s face it having several lines in the water at once can only increase your chances of catching something.
Every prepper should be able to identify, harvest, and use the edible and medical plants that grow wild in their area. Luckily, there are a number of great books with color photos and detailed information on this subject, but like with most things you’ll still need to go out and actually find, harvest and use these plants because nothing beats getting out in the field and doing it to gain lasting knowledge…
Here are two books, a video, and deck of cards that I recommend: