I have a confession. While I call myself a gardener with all the confidence of one who has nurtured, tended and grown healthy flowers, trees and shrubs for more than two decades, it was not until this month that I harvested the first food I’ve ever grown. This spring the sunniest corner of my “garden,” which is my balcony since my husband and I currently live in a condo, became my edibles garden. I grew tomatoes and many herbs, including rosemary and basil. There in that three-foot by four-foot corner, our personal good-food revolution has begun.
We watched our tomato plants flower and then produce two, yes just TWO, tomatoes. Both of those TWO tomatoes grew and ripened until one morning last week when I gently plucked them from the vine. I literally did a happy dance in the kitchen when I showed my husband the “harvest!” I made our lunches for the day, and never had I tasted anything quite so delicious as “our” tomatoes on my sandwich that day as I ate my lunch at my desk here at Horticulture headquarters.
Well, that’s an exaggeration because quite honestly it wasn’t the best-tasting tomato I’ve ever eaten, but the fact that it was the first tomato I’d ever grown somehow made it taste amazing to me. And I say this with all sincerity, that the sense of accomplishment and happiness I felt about growing even just this little bit of our own food is enough to convince me that when we find that plot of land upon which we’ll build our next home, there will indeed be a vegetable garden out back.
The Good Food Revolution by Will Allen is one of the many books sitting on my bedside table right now; yes, I read more than one book at a time. I’m a passionate gardener as well as a voracious reader, so books about gardening tend to find their way onto my pile. And there is always a pile of books on my bedside table, not just one. I mention Will’s book because I love it, and like Will I’ve never had any intention to grow any kind of food. His journey to becoming an urban farmer is far more interesting than mine so you might want to pick up a copy for yourself. But I admire that he is making a positive difference in so many peoples’ lives by using his successful business experience along with his understanding of the plight of folks living in what he describes as the “food desert” of Milwaukee where residents could choose from only fast-food outlets or convenience stores to buy their food. Will Allen has helped me believe that I can make a positive difference in my family’s life by growing some of our food, even if “some” ends up only being two tomatoes this year. The seed for the future has been planted here.
Wishing you peace on the garden path,
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