Hi. I’m Wendy and I love to grow food.
What’s not to love? It’s cheap, delicious and super healthy, and it’s good for the environment.
If you’ve ever picked a tomato off your own vine, rubbed it on your shirt and popped it into your mouth, you know what I’m talking about. If not, follow along. I promise it’ll be worth it.
Let’s take a step back.
I’m actually a city dweller, and early in my marketing career, I was desperately trying to scale the corporate ladder as quickly as possible. I owned an apartment with my husband, a sports car with a turbo engine, a fancy degree, and I was going places!
Back in the ‘90’s, nutrition and fitness was all about low fat and loads of cardio. Shudder. My best attempt at foraging at the time was stealing blackberries from the bushes along the railroad tracks near my house (more on this later).
Then I had my first child, and suddenly I had to learn how to feed a family. I often credit this to my cousin gifting me a book by Ruth Yaron about making your own baby food. And while it honestly changed my life (thank you Sandra!), I think the first credit has to go to my parents who raised me on garden fresh veggies in the summer. My mom had a garden that anyone would be jealous of. It was enormous and had a little bit of everything. As a treat, we used to roll up brown sugar between lettuce leaves for snacks!
But who appreciates these things as a child? I just wanted to be the kid who got “store bought” cookies instead of homemade! But obviously it played a role in my values and passions today, Suddenly what I ate (and hence what this tiny little being I was now responsible for ate) mattered. And I discovered it wasn’t that difficult.
For the first time, I bought organic produce and grains to make into no-additives-baby-food, and it felt great. I knew what I was feeding my kid, and I feel proud that I gave her a good, healthy start to life.
Slowly we introduced more organic produce into our own diets, and then 6 years ago, I started growing my own. The first year was a gong show. Let’s be honest, the first few years were a gong show. We lived in a townhouse with tons of strata rules about what we could and couldn’t do with our “yard” and had very little space with which to work that wasn’t either shaded or sun-parched most of the day. But eventually, through experimentation, I developed a few simple skills and a love for growing my own food.
As we humans continue to evolve and learn, more people seem to want to know about what’s in their food, so they can make better choices. Perhaps because celebrity chefs, authors, filmmakers and politicians have helped make this knowledge more attainable (read: popular). Or because people are getting scared that they don’t recognize half the ingredients in the products they buy. I think people are looking for other options, simple options, back to “the way it used to be”, without necessarily balking at technology and progress.
Let’s get a few things straight. I am NOT a horticulture nerd, or a natural green thumb. I don’t even really enjoy cooking that much (except when I have tons of time on my hands, which is like, never, due to running a business and being a mother of two!). In fact, I find it funny when my urban friends call me a hippie! Ha!
It’s really more simple than that. I’m just a regular person, the girl next door if you will, trying to do her small part for herself, her family and the world. It’s because when I grow it myself, I don’t have to buy it! It’s cheap! It’s close by! I know it’s healthy. And low and behold, I discovered not only a sense of joy in growing my own food but an attunement to the like-minded things and people in the world around me. Oh, and when the zombies come, I’ll feel just a little safer knowing I have a few “marketable skills”. 😉
I’m no saint either. But at least when my kids get loaded up with candy at school, or when I drink a little too much wine on the weekend, I still know that likely 75% of what we are putting into our bodies is decent enough to keep the “mommy guilt” away.
We don’t have a farm or even a lot of land. I live in a small house on a small lot in East
Vancouver on the West Coast of British Columbia, Canada. I have less than 100 square feet of actual “garden” to work with. That’s “garden #1” on the right, up against the garage, which was there when we bought the house. We built “garden #2” the second year with some landscaping ties and a bit of rebar!
And while it is beautiful here, we get A LOT of rain and the growing season is relatively short.
But people in East Van are not afraid to grow stuff in their (front or back) yards! One of my favourite summer pastimes is to go on a walkabout down the back alleys checking out everyone’s gardens just to see (and learn about) what can be grown in urban yards.
In August 2013, I arrived home from two weeks away to find my yard bursting with abundance. And for almost a month thereafter, I ate the most natural, delicious food straight from the ground every day. It ignited a spark in me. I needed to write about the experience and share it with others. The ideas were and are keeping me up at night. So I created this blog.
Thanks for visiting – I hope you’ll come back often and share your own experiences.