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Growing food at home can offset cost of expensive groceries

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Posted at 10:06 AM, Aug 15, 2022

JUPITER, Fla. — Jack Sandquist, better known as "Farmer Jack" in south Florida, has a tough time picking his favorite food to grow.

"It's hard to choose. They say it's like your kids. It's hard to choose," he said.

Many people are choosing Farmer Jack and his business, Urban Abundance, to help offset rising food prices at the grocery store. He teaches people how to build home gardens. The number of his clients has tripled in the last year, he said.

Farmer Jack specializes in people with little to no prior knowledge of home gardening.

One of his clients, Kathy Link, failed several times at growing her own food before she met Farmer Jack. After five years, she now has what she calls a food forest in her backyard. She grows papaya, mango, avocado, several kinds of spinach and leafy greens and much more.

"I think it's really a lot simpler than people make it out to be," Farmer Jack said.

Farmer Jack said people first need to consider what everyone in their household likes to eat. He also recommends researching what thrives in their specific area. For example, Farmer Jack said garlic would be a good choice in the Pacific Northwest and planting fruit trees and vegetables is the best route in south Florida.

The next step in building a home garden, according to Farmer Jack, is to determine a space that is near a water source and sunlight.

"Most vegetables like sun," he said.

Step three is critical. Farmer Jack said it's important to build soil rich in organic matter, such as composted material or mulch from a tree company.

"Don't be a dabbler. Really immerse yourself into it, and it will take time," Farmer Jack said.

"I feel like the luckiest woman on the planet, and I want other people to experience this," Link said. "I have no food insecurity. I have plenty to eat on this property, and we're only five years in. I can only imagine what it will be like in ten to fifteen years."

Farmer Jack posts regular tips and advice for building a home garden on his Urban Abundance YouTube channel.