I recently had the joy of reconnecting with growing food. Seven years ago, I began that journey connecting growing food and conserving water in the most gung-ho way I could: first I took a Permaculture class which changed my entire awareness, then I became one of the first farm interns at City College under the amazing tutealage of Paul Machke and Julia Dashe, then I began the relatively speedy transformation of my home from lawn and roses to a small eco-hub in Talmadge with 25+ fruit trees, a cob chicken coop and earth oven, 1300 gallons of rainwater storage, and all greywater leading to the garden, with a water bill of no more than 20 gallons a day total for myself and my 2 kids. After using that home as an educational tool for my community for several years, I moved on to a series of different homes and stopped growing food.
Although many people in my community do identify with growing food, I haven’t. I know I can design some mean water systems. I grow children, or at least my two boys. I grow ideas and community. But not food and plants. I leave that to the pros.
Until I went to the Heirloom Seed Swap in San Diego and got some irresistible popcorn and sunflower seeds from Wild Willows Farms. Then my 2 x 205 gallon tanks filled up with rainwater (just the right size for a renter). Then my compost pile was ready to harvest. So I guess I had to do something.
Now I remember how good it feels to put seeds in the ground and watch them grow! Especially food. Now I remember why everyone is posting their pictures of their food plants flourishing! I’m so excited to watch this corn, these sunflowers, tomatoes and peppers grow and feed us. I love seeing how happy they are on compost and rainwater!
I’ve watched a big shift in San Diego over the last several years. More community gardens, more backyards and front yards filling with food producing plants. There is more vibrancy in our landscapes and in our souls as we connect with even the simplest project of growing a tomato plant or a citrus tree. Our children are more connected to what food looks like before it appears on the shelves in a store thanks to countless schoolyard gardens popping up all across the county.
It’s easy to acknowledge this, intellectually, as a good thing. But getting your hands in the dirt and doing it takes you to a whole other level of connection and intention. Just get outside, take over a little patch of ground, and start planting today! Head to City Farmer’s Nursery for high quality organic plants. Head to Wild Willows Farm this Saturday for their monthly potluck to meet students and farmers who are passionate about growing food locally for our community!