Well, after deciding a meal my husband made was too pretty to eat and took out my new studio lights to take pictures – I was hooked. I have awakened a new passion the past few days to design recipes and artistically and visually capture the love I have for food, cooking, and a SOUL (seasonal, organic, unprocessed and local) lifestyle.
Gardening is not just for flower lovers, and is moving out of people’s window boxes and into their backyards. In the past few years, food gardening has increasingly become an activity done to facilitate better physical fitness, healthier eating and well-being.
Gardens – while my black thumb has been a major hurdle personally trying to get one up and running, I’m passionate about them. From the schoolyard young to the mature and elderly, it is never too late to share the magic of tending and growing their own garden for food.
Why do I feel this is a vital part of our society? Well, growing gardens fosters a sense of community, first of all. What I mean by that is, how many of you gardeners have grown a type of food and ended up with so much of it come harvest time, that it seemed a waste to let it wither on the vine? What do we do at that point? We’re offering to unload all of this food to anyone willing to take it: Neighbors, co-workers, friends, family. Now imagine for a second that one out of five people in the US had a garden. I’m not even talking everyone, just one out of five. Imagine how much food would be flowing through your neighborhood. Food deserts, what is that? Hunger, what is that? Food insecurity? We could create a lot more community by getting to talk to your neighbor and trade food, sharing, and assisting those in need. And eventually, it could potentially lead to seeds swaps where you are trading seeds with your neighbor for a variety of lettuce or tomato you’ve never grown before.
Secondly, it just makes sense to teach people to grow their own food because it is cheaper in the end! So many times, I have mused to my partner, “Wouldn’t it be nice to be snacky and just go out into the backyard and snag a fruit from one of our trees, or grab just enough cilantro for my salad instead of a huge bunch at the store that sometimes goes to waste?” The only investment you make is time.
Thirdly, it negates the worry about GMOs and pesticides in our foods if we are buying and trading organic seeds. If you have a home garden, you have so much more control over how your food is grown. You can rest assured that the food your kids pick from the garden in between bouts of throwing the football or biking around the neighborhood is nutritious, natural, and healthy for them.
There are three grants – one for schools, one for any charitable or educational nonprofit program in the US, and another that can be put toward any number of garden projects for schools, 501c3s, food banks, community gardens, colleges, libraries, prisons, senior programs, etc.
If any of these speak to you, check out these links, and see if you can start a food revolution for your community!
A couple of weeks ago, my partner and I brought home our first-ever CSA (community supported agriculture) care package from an area organic farm. A CSA is simply an agreement where you pay a local farmer a certain amount for a set period of weeks, for which in return you get a weekly bag of the farm’s crop. They get the monetary support they need for daily operation, and you get a very healthy reward. Win-win for everyone.
When I ever got this bag home, I swore it was related to a clown car. The food just DID NOT stop coming, or so it seemed. This bag was simply BRIMMING with goodies, with even some greens I couldn’t identify. But that never scares us away. It just makes it more fun!
There were fruits, veggies, greens, spices… everything you could ask for. Two weeks later, I’m still trying to get through the last of it. And it was only $25.
Also let me tell you that when it comes to food, nothing says fresh better than taking your produce out of your “shopping bag” (pay no attention to the WHOLE FOODS logo on the side, does not indicate origin!) and each item is still covered with dirt and silt from the ground. They were probably only a few hours old out of the earth.
Still think it’s expensive to eat SOUL-fully? Search for yourself to find local organic farmers in your area, and see if they either have Farmer’s Markets or offer CSAs. I don’t think that you would regret it.
About four or five months ago when I first began to blog seriously about my passions, I had likewise fiddled with the idea of starting up a Facebook page to specifically broadcast my posts on holistic health & lifestyle, cooking, gardening, etc. I fiddled with Facebook, figuring just what I wanted for a page, gave it a name, and …. let it languish there for months. There it sat, a wanna-be half a page, as of yet unpublished and crying for an audience.
Instead of nursing this new page to life, I simply continued to burden my personal newsfeed with tons of re-posts, hoping they were appreciated and were finding the right audience in my thick fog of Facebook connections.
But I knew I needed to branch out – sooner, rather than later.
Maybe it’s the fresh fall air that is giving me a renewed sense of purpose, or I just got tired of waiting. This past week, I finally went ahead and published a Facebook community called Health in Your Own Hands for those with an interest in food, gardening, and healthy living. With so many Facebook account holders out there, I welcome you to tick “like” on my page, and enjoy the barrage of links I post and re-post throughout each day.
And if the mood strikes you… post something yourself.