Given a bare but not sterile environment and the sorts of supplies one would have access to in a well-stocked cafeteria or a bad grocery store, is it possible to start growing food? Assume frozen, canned and otherwise processed food is available but fresh fruits and vegetables are not. Phrased another way: What are the minimum requirements to be able to cultivate food?

I realise this question is relatively broad, but I hope it's okay to ask here - I'm asking this for a story I'm trying to write. I have very little knowledge about farming, except for a vague impression that you can grow things in coffee grounds and that you can make prison wine using bread and fruit juice.

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    $\begingroup$ this is better suited to worldbuilding or AG than here. $\endgroup$ – John Dec 3 '17 at 5:05

Do you have another source of seeds, or are you hoping to get all the seeds to jump-start agriculture from processed food in a grocery store?

If the latter... a lot of our processing kills seeds while sterilizing food. Often we remove the seeds in the first place. For instance, I rarely see bell-pepper seeds in frozen sliced bell pepper, or tomato seeds in sauce. There are seeds in frozen okra, but okra is a hot-climate plant, I don't know if its seeds survive freezing. There might be whole flax and sesame seeds in granola that could still sprout.

I think you should put a damp paper towel somewhere warm and test things as you find them in the grocery.


I believe it would be entirely possible to grow a viable source of fruits, vegitables, and grain products. Soley from you’re grocery listed of processed frozen and canned foods.

Frozen fruits, vegitables, and meats under go a process called flash freezing1. Flash freezing has the ability to lock in the vast majority of the produces natural or food fortified nutritional content. Making these particular items great candidates for composting.

Now say one allowed those canned processed fortified foods or non. To vermicompost over time to create a nutrient rich, well balanced soil. Then planted crops accordingly. I believe that one could cultivate goods that would thrive rather nicely in the biological make up of your produce soils.


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