I have never had a desire to play in dirt. As a child I relished in the ability of getting out of having to do things outside due to allergies and asthma. To be honest, I still do. I was never the one that wanted to pick strawberries, go fishing or camping, and definitely not gardening. My garden was the produce aisles of Pathway and Acme…well that’s not really true. The only thing “fresh” I was willing to eat as a child was grapes and plums; no vegetables. The only vegetables I ate were french fries (not even potatoes, but crispy seasoned french fries) and french style cut green beans from the can. When I became a college student I began to eat broccoli covered in cheese (frozen of course) and asparagus (actually fresh) with hollandaise sauce. I can remember as a child walking through my grandfather’s garden completely disenchanted by the wonders that were occurring in my 70+ year old grandfather’s small backyard. He had peppers, grapes, and tomatoes growing from a small plot of land behind his attached home. Only now do I realize how much work he was putting into making that small garden and how taxing it must of been on him.
As I attempt to create a garden in my own backyard, I find myself rethinking the whole concept, but then I remember the taste of locally grown organic peppers and tomatoes. I remember how disappointed I feel whenever I eat a piece of supermarket fruit or frozen vegetables. These memories push me to keep clearing out my yard that is full of red clay, weeds, english ivy/kudzu, and tree roots. I want a garden like my grandfather’s…actually I want a 1200 square foot garden that has an adjacent azalea/shrub area. I want to have a garden big enough that I can donate my overflow to the local food pantries and shelters. I want the opportunity to look at a recipe and see I need rosemary and go in my backyard and cut some. I want my food as fresh and pure as possible. I have converted from the frozen food ideology to the farm to table one with my backyard being my farm and my antique wooden dining table being my table.
It will not be easy, but it will be worth it. The girl who loved Green Giant and processed foods wants to cultivate and grow her own food. She wants to make sure her food is organic and local…she wants to be a gardener.