Every Home Should be a Food Factory

Robert Rodale's 1969 editorial about the importance of growing your own food.

By Robert Rodale


"If you take vacation trips by car anywhere in the central U.S. during a grain harvesting season, take along a few empty bags, and when you see harvesting in progress you can usually buy a bushel or two of wheat, corn or oats (and you may be able to arrange to have a supply sent to you each year). Should you arrive home from a vacation with a supply of freshly harvested grain you can have a real satisfied feeling that you're a pretty sharp provider for your family."

One of the most important reasons why food costs are so high these days is the long route that it takes between the farmer's field and your dinner table. All along the way there are people and companies doing things to the food and adding to its cost. By going direct to the farmer as much as possible, you give him a chance to profit a little more than he normally would, and make big savings yourself.

Another important food-processing machine that is finding wider uses these days is an electric fruit and vegetable juicer. It can be used to make a wide variety of tasty and healthful drinks that will be enjoyed by children and adults. It goes almost without saying that some of the worst and most unhealthful items of diet sold today are beverages, and I'm not talking just about alcoholic drinks. Lack of real nutritional knowledge by the Food and Drug Administration in Washington has allowed the marketing of artificial ades, punches, "drinks" and chemical substitutes for fruit juices that are a real abomination. Not only are they expensive and of wrong nutritional value, but because many are sold in cans and bottles similar to those used to pack real fruit juices, many people buy them thinking they are almost the same. The result is a diet too rich in sugar—which is liberally added—and too low in vitamins, can make the best use of a juicer, but city-dwellers can buy supplies of juicing vegetables and fruits from farmers, in season.

There has been a lot written about the supposed curative powers of raw juices. For those who aren't eating enough raw food, juices will prevent nutritional deficiencies. But raw juice isn’t a miracle drug. It is an excellent beverage for a family that is tired of the sweet-drink routine. If you aren’t getting enough vitamins and minerals in your food, raw juice will help correct that deficiency. But don't overdo it. The pulp of raw vegetables and fruits also contains good food elements, which you get when you eat the whole thing.

Drying and dehydrating are good techniques to use to get more value from your garden produce, and to help stretch your food budget. People living in warm, dry climates can use the sun, but even here in Pennsylvania the local people use the lowest heat of their ovens to dry corn, beans and even apple slices. Dried foods aren't always as rich in vitamins as fresh, but they do have the minerals, protein and other valued nutrients, and a different flavor as well. That taste of home-dried food is something you just can't buy in a store, except perhaps a farmer's market.

Yes, your own home can be a food factory on a small scale, and it will pay big dividends. You will like the money you'll save, but especially important will be the better nutrition that you and your family will get.

With a power juicer, you can break out of the canned- and frozen-drink rut, by juicing a wide variety of fresh vegetables and fruits. Raw vegetables of many types taste wonderful in juice form. Carrots are probably the most popular vegetable for juicing, but also good are celery and tomatoes. Cress and other green leafy vegetables are used for accents.