The first thing I ever grew was a green pepper on the patio of my apartment in 2006. Since then I have become consumed (HA!) with growing my own food. Since I started growing, and helping others grow, I have found that there a few main reasons that keeps getting me back out in the yard.
1. I need the exercise
In 2005, I was fat. I probably weighed around 240 lbs during the '04/05 winter. I have always had to watch my weight, but as I approached 30, I really started to notice how quickly I was packing on weight. Part of the reason why was because I hated going to the gym or running. When I do something, I like it to be for a reason other than just exercising. Gardening seemed like a perfect activity for me. I could grow my own food which saves money and also gives me plenty of physical activity.
Today, as I work on my 1 acre garden here in Louisville, I fluctuate between 185 and 195 lbs. While gardening isn't the only thing that has contributed to my weight loss, it has changed my life for the better in a lot of ways and has introduced me to some great people along the way.
2. Peak Oil
Back in 2003, I first heard about something called the Peak Oil Theory. Basically, the idea is that oil production from an oil well follows a bell curve and overall oil production may also follow a similar bell curve. The "peak" - or the top of the bell curve, according to the theory - will be followed by quick declines in available oil which could cause serious problems in the economy as a whole. While I am less concerned now about Peak Oil than I was years ago, I would be lying if I said that it didn't have something to do with why I started gardening.
3. My family's medical history
I am now 35 years old and, like you, I am not going to live forever. I realize I am stating the obvious, but over the past 10 years I have slowly realized that I have some control over not only the quality of my life, but to some degree the quantity as well. Gardening means increased physical activity and increased consumption of whole foods for me, which will help to offset the obesity, type II diabetes, diverticulitis and heart disease that runs in my family. I don't think that gardening is a cure for anything, but I know that personally I am healthier now than I was 10 years ago.
4. It feels right
I grow food not only for my family, but I also sell a large portion of what I grow here in Louisville. This is the only thing I have ever done for money that I have not felt conflicted about in some way. I believe in the quality of my own produce more than I have ever believed in anything else I have ever sold.
5. Good food is too expensive at the store
At some point over the next few years, I will have my grocery bill reduced down to a few bags of rice, spices and meat. I hope to harvest hogs, chickens, eggs, vegetables and fruit from my own yard sufficient to support my family for the most part and I will be doing it for the price of a few bags of fertilizer and a few bags of feed. To eat the same quality of food if I bought it fresh on the local market I would probably be spending upward of $10,000 a year which I don't believe I would be able to afford. That knowledge is enough to keep me picking!
So, these are the things that keep me motivated. Now, maybe it is time for you to make a list of your own!
Thursday, April 12, 2012
The title is a direct quote from my girlfriend when I sent her to the blog to retrieve my address - I still don't know my garden's address. Also, for the last couple of days I have been pretty tired, so wasting some time this morning writing this will be a nice break.
After some searching and not finding the right place to buy, I decided that it would be a good idea to look for land to lease for 2012 so that I could take my time finding the perfect permanent home for the garden. After contacting many, many local farmers and being told no time and time again, I turned to Craigslist.
Thursday, March 1, 2012
I will only be in Texas for 3 more weeks! I am getting really excited to get started on my own in Louisville. I have onions, parsley and swiss chard I have been growing here in Texas that will make the trip north with me, along with a few flats of tomatoes and other items I am starting early in hopes of getting them to the market faster.
Friday, February 24, 2012
Maybe this is premature, because I don't have anything in writing yet but, I have a verbal agreement with a sheep/cattle farmer in New Albany, IN to lease a couple of acres of pasture land for the season! That means now it is time to get crackin' on finding the best farmer's markets in the area and maybe even some restaurants that want some absolutely delicious fresh local produce. Enough food related hyperbole for me for the day, I just wanted to get it on the record that I am THRILLED to have some dirt lined up to grow on for the season!
Friday, February 3, 2012
As I mentioned earlier, Marvin's Garden Produce is currently without land for the season in the Louisville, KY area, but perhaps not for long. Thanks to an ad on Craigslist desperately seeking land, I now have a few leads. All so far are a little farther out than I want to be, but I get the feeling that I will have to settle for a long commute to the markets in Louisville. While I have yet to make a decision, I will put up a new post as soon as I do.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
It will be available briefly in the spring and fall (we hope), it is beautiful and delicious. Raw in salads, steamed or battered and fried with other veggies or roasted in olive oil and parmesan, most of my personal consumption of cauliflower is pretty simple but what follows are a few different ideas. Enjoy!