, I've seen so many people try to grow huge gardens that they have no time or energy to care for. I've done it myself. When you can't keep up with the planting, weeding, harvest and preserving you will get discouraged. When a poorly placed tree fails to thrive or gets blown over by the wind before you get a harvest you get discouraged.
There are many ways to get yourself prepared without trying to plant a whole orchard or huge garden immediately.
1) Learn to cook from scratch. Make pie crust, make cookies or cake without a mix. Experiment with seasonings and spices to give your home cooking something extra tasty so you prefer it over fast food.
2) Set up a pantry for canned goods and dry foods. Be sure to research ways to keep bugs out of beans, rice and flour. You might not be able to grow enough of those foods to satisfy your needs but you can buy them and store them for future use.
3) Learn how to preserve food. Canning is pretty easy once you learn the method. Dehydrating works great for some foods and many herbs. Find ways to preserve foods so they don't need to be refrigerated or frozen.
4) Take notice of foods you like. Learn the cultivation requirements of those plants. Try new fruits and vegetables from the grocery store to see if you like them before you buy the plants. Asparagus is easy to grow but it's not worth the effort if no one wants to eat it.
5) Try growing some plants in containers. Some things will grow better in containers than in your native soil. I can never get good peppers from my garden. Potted peppers do very well for me.
6) Get a seed starting area set up. It's often easier to set out plants than tiny seeds. Make sure you have enough lighting for your little plants. Insufficient lighting produces weak plants that won't survive outdoors. Learn how to introduce indoor grown seedlings to the outdoors, a process called "hardening off".
7) Tools are your second most important investment. Buy good, sturdy tools that will last many years. Some of my tools have been in use for over 100 years. Learn how to store and care for your tools. Good tools quickly become worthless if not cared for. A potting bench is essential if you start a lot of plants from seed. You should also learn simple maintenance of your power tools.
8) Learn your seasons. When is your typical first and last frost? Do you have a season where it rains every day? Do you have a season where you get no rain and you have to water plants? Is there a time when mosquitoes and ticks are more active than other times? Is there a season where slugs, snails, crickets or other little critters are most active in your area?
9) Learn how to inventory and rotate your supplies. Learn how to keep your pantry stocked. Learn to constantly compare prices and watch for sales of things you can't grow. Learn how to shop for produce that is in season. Learn where the local farmer's markets are located.
Take notes, copy recipes, make a record of things that work and things that don't. Make a master list of what to plant and when to plant it specific to your location. Learn how to rotate crops and keep a record if what you planted and where you planted it. Learn what varieties of vegetables your family likes and what they don't.
All of this process takes TIME and patience. Even if you are not growing all your own food within a couple years, you will be ahead of most people if you have enough food to get by for 3 months. Buying food from the grocery store does not make you a failure, it makes you prepared.