Inspiration: Growing Your Own

(note: the Inspiration posts are simply little insights into me and what makes me tick. I hope you like them!)

Ever since my bare feet could hit the ground, I have been surrounded by grass, pasture, trees, and home grown food. For a while, we had a garden that my dad tended...I distinctly remember him yelling at the horses because they found their way into it and ate a good deal of the vegetables and broke the fence. I was probably around 5-7 years old at the time, and I think he decided to pause with growing vegetables after that. However, we were lucky enough to have resident cherry, apple, and plum trees on the property, as well as blackberry and raspberry bushes. There is nothing better than fresh fruit picked and eaten right away. At my mother's house, there were cherry trees and sometimes a garden that would yield copious amounts of squash and tomatoes.

In addition to all the food grown at home, there were fishing trips, hunted deer and elk, fresh food from farmer friends, and trips to pick huckleberries and mushrooms in the mountains. There have definitely been times in my life where I had no access to a garden and no opportunities to get out into the wild to pick my own (mostly during my college years), although I thought about it often. I also discovered in those college years that I am almost incapable of keeping house plants. That poor luck, paired with my cats' affinity for eating houseplants, has reduced my collection to mostly succulents.

Last year, I started reading a collection of books by Michael Pollan, such as In Defense of Food and The Omnivore's Dilemma, as well as Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. They inspired me to start shopping at the Farmer's Markets and work towards growing my own. Recently I also finished Plenty by Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon.

These books inspired me, as well as the movements going on around the world of growing one's own food, and this year, with the help of Grow Great Grub by Gayla Trail, I started my own veggie garden, otherwise known as my Army of Pots. We live in an apartment with no access to garden space (although the courtyard houses 2 blueberry bushes, 2 persimmon trees, and 2 asian pear trees as well as herbs!), and I know that the community garden plots around here are booked full, so I decided to make my own. We have tons of tomatoes, some squash, sugar snap peas, peppers, lots of lettuce and basil, and a few carrots. And today...I found our first peas! So, I am inspired and celebrating! I am also hoping that the summer will officially start soon so my plants can look a little less sad and a little more prolific.

Without wanting to sound like I'm preaching, part of why I am inspired to grow my own food and shop at Farmer's Markets is simply because I want to support my local farmers, a more local economy, and keep these crafts alive that have survived for centuries before big agriculture. The importance of preserving a variety of foods and plants goes beyond our health as humans--it feeds into our health as a planet. Much like the loss of indigenous languages and animals, the loss of plants can have a profound effect on our environment and culture, now and in the future. I am simply making small steps to support what I can.

I hope you all can find inspiration in the world around you, as well, for it is full of beauty and wonder.



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