We all struggle with balancing our footprints in the process of keeping up.
Many readers mention their concerns about the organic status the environment and about their food supply… especially concerns about GMO foods.
We all want a healthier environment yet we are all caught up competing in business or in our job in a world where many competitors have short term advantages from short term thinking and short term efficiencies created by the big agri community.
Those who take short term short cuts often appear to be living more productively.
They appear to be living faster. If we walk everywhere, we may be healthier and stamp a lower carbon footprint, but others who drive get more places faster. We have to drive also to keep up.l
How can we fight such facts?
One way is to have our own multi dimensional life that we run from home… and where we grow our own food.
Merri and I run publishing businesses from a farm and an orange grove and an Ecuador cloud forest. Our webmaster, David Cross, provides a website and voiceover service but produces 60% of his families food supply organically.
This is why we have encouraged David to develop his watertheroots.com website. Here we share that site’s most recent post that provides some seeds of wisdom about seeds and an offer that can help you have more of your own organic food.
Let’s all get some seeds and beat the big agri businesses by being small… organic and self reliant by being organic and multi dimensional!
What Did Julia Child Know About Gardening?
Why should you start growing your own food, and how can you get started quickly? In this article I show you how you could be eating your own, home-grown food in less than four weeks, and I also tell how you can get free organic vegetable, herb or fruit seeds for the next month from one of the best organic suppliers in the USA.
The reason I started growing and rearing my own food is that I love cooking, and I decided that I wanted the freshest, tastiest ingredients all grown without harmful chemicals and using seeds that aren’t genetically messed around with.
My first memory of cooking was standing on a chair next to my mum, and adding ingredients as she made a cake. Here’s a photo taken in 1967 of me and my sister, Ruth, scraping a bowl of cake mix.
Many years later and I am now doing the same thing with our daughters, Sequoia (6), and Teeka (4). They stand next to me on two chairs – or I hold them – while we learn to cook together.
Our cooking education has become quite a multifaceted adventure, and in addition to growing and cooking our food together we enjoy reading recipe books and looking at the photos. of dishes and they decide what they’d like to cook. Also, Last summer Teeka discovered a fascination with seed catalogs which she frequently enjoys as bedtime reading material! “Next year I want to grow that, that and…this. Mmmm…I think this would be delicious…” she said one evening while looking at different types of broccoli.
We recently discovered that my Amazon Prime account contained every season of Julia Child’s The French Chef dating back to 1963, and this winter we’ve often sat by a nice log fire in the evening and watch an episode. At Thanksgiving last year when I asked the girls what they wanted to eat, their reply was not “Pizza and fries!” but “Boeuf Bourguignon…with elk!“
And so on Thanksgiving morning we cooked a classic Boeuf Bourguignon with elk we’d hunted together the previous fall. We used vegetables from our own garden and I had a beer I brewed myself. For dessert we enjoyed apple crumble with apples from our little orchard and made custard (Crème anglaise) with our own eggs and milk from our friend’s farm. Everything was absolutely delicious and great fun to make together.
A Quiet Revolution
Julia Child revolutionized how an entire generation of people in the US cook. Writer Diane Jacob notes in her excellent book Will Write for Food that:
“After taking cooking classes in France, Julia Child opened a cooking school in Paris with two Frenchwomen (sic). Many of the students were American, and soon Child decided to write a manual of French cooking for them. Her radical idea was that all ingredients should be available in the United States, and that readers should learn French cooking techniques.“
By imparting simple skills using available ingredients Julia Child helped to take away the feeling of being overwhelmed, and made it easy for anyone to cook delicious meals using fresh ingredients. If she’d insisted that people must first locate authentic French ingredients her approach would have been far less accessible and The French Chef would have probably ended after one series. The point is that using available ingredients is the key.
My goal here is to help you get started and to share our own journey with you. We have a small (six acres) farm and my first year of growing three tomato plants, one chili plant and two zucchini plants “As an experiment” has grown into me now farming a half acre of vegetables and rearing our own organic eggs and meat.
But I don’t want that to put you off!
I hope that this is obvious but…you don’t need a farm to get started!
Start Growing Your Own Food…Now
Last weekend we sat down with some seed catalogs from my favorite seed and gardening suppliers and made a list of everything we’d like to grow this year. Last year we grew about 27 types of plants. This year we have a list of over 58 types of plants that we want to grow which – added to apples, pears, cherries, grapes, raspberries and blueberries (oh, and blackberries which grow wild around here) – brings us to a list of 65 different plants…fruits, herbs and vegetables.
Here’s a copy of the page in my notebook that Sequoia enjoyed transcribing as we all shouted out the names of plants we want to grow. We even found an olive tree that should grow in Oregon.
Even in the mid-winter as I write this we still have fresh Swiss chard, spinach, tatsoi, potatoes, turnips, cilantro, carrots and beets, and it’s only a few days before we start planting seedlings again for the spring and summer.
But I don’t want that to put you off! In my first year I grew just three types of plants (tomatoes, chili and zucchini) and if all you do this year is to start growing just one plant you’ll have made a start. And that is what is most important…to make a start. Getting something in motion is the part that requires the most energy.
Start Small, Start Now
There’s an old joke about a visitor in London who asks a cab driver for directions on how to get to Buckingham Palace. “Well, if I was going there I wouldn’t start here!” quips the cab driver.
Although you may enjoy eating asparagus, artichokes, carrots or cauliflower, if I was just starting out I wouldn’t necessarily begin gardening by growing these veggies; they can take time to develop (asparagus) or be a little temperamental to grow (cauliflower).
One of the simplest types of vegetables to start growing are leafy green vegetables or salad leaves. In fact, you can even grow them inside your house or apartment. Anything such as:
- Lettuce leaves
- Mustard greens
- Salad mix
These will grow well in most environments and be ready to eat relatively quickly – you can start eating some types of lettuce in less than four weeks!
You can start a small plant pot or even old yoghurt containers almost anywhere in your home where there is natural light; on a windowsill or shelves by a natural light source can work well. They will also grow in cooler environments (not frosty…grow the indoors or under cover in that case).
Free Organic Seeds to Get You Started
I spoke to my friends at Peaceful Valley and mentioned that I was writing an article on starting to grow your own vegetables, and they’ve kindly agreed to send you two FREE packets of organic vegetable, fruit or herb seeds – whatever you like, but why not start with lettuce, green leafy vegetables…something simple and quick to get you started. (Valid until February 17, 2013.) Pretty cool!
I make nothing from this offer, and I am really happy to recommend Peaceful Valley. I’ve shopped there personally for two or three years, and their products are great, they are always friendly and enthusiastic to help, and have always been able to answer my questions. They’ve also some great videos and helpful hints on gardening at their website.
Here’s a selection of veg I grew last year with organic seeds I bought from them:
Gardening is a fun way to spend family time together and to educate your children about where their food comes from. Growing their own food is a great life skill and who knows what the world’s food supply will be like in 20 years?
Here’s a photo. of Teeka and some of the potatoes and turnips that she planted, which were also seeds we bought from Peaceful Valley:
How to Get Your FREE Organic Seeds
To get your free organic seeds (valid until February 17, 2013) and also win a chance to have a box of organic veg. from my garden shipped to you free, simply sign-up for my Water the Roots newsletter. You will immediately receive the coupon for your free seeds, and you’re welcome to remove your name from my newsletter immediately if you wish. If you choose to stay subscribed you’ll be entered into the drawing for a free box of organic vegetables.
Remember to get your free organic seeds and use the coupon before February 17.
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