I am a first-year gardener.  I planted too soon, the plants too close together, and the rows way too far apart.  I’m having a blast!  We are truly blessed to live in a climate that allows for several plantings - the radishes didn’t mind the cold and the herbs like the heat.

I am learning about cold weather crops vs warm-weather crops, companion planting, and tuning into the rhythms of my property.  I have discovered that if you plant a “stick,” you stand a good chance of a fruit tree developing.  My favorite new book is “Grow, Cook, Eat” by Willi Galloway.  The pictures are beautiful, the information is accessible, and her recipes are delicious!  And I wouldn’t have had the confidence to attempt a nano-orchard without the guidance of “The Holistic Orchard” by Michael Phillips.

My interest was deeply piqued when I visited Burnt Stump Farm last year, teenager in tow, to learn about seed harvesting.  I was hooked and those seeds have been, at least in part, the reason my garden has been successful.  They were grown and harvested with care and sustainability in mind.  Now more than ever, we need to be vigilant about the origins of our food.  What journey has traveled to get to us?  We should be asking ourselves, “What has been sacrificed to put this on my table?”  Inevitably there has been an environmental, ecological, and human impact somewhere.

With so many good books, podcasts, documentaries, and periodicals on the subject, it’s hard to know where to start, so just jump in!  “Drawdown,” edited by Paul Hawken, actually offers a plan to start undoing the damage that has been done to our planet.  Years ago, the book that really got me thinking about the horrors of meat production (I’m not a vegan, just now practicing mindfulness in my choices) was “Skinny Bitch” by Rory Freedman.  Just about anything by Michael Pollan is worth a look, although one of my personal favorites is “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto”.  You should also take a look at “Mother Earth News” magazine for a long and glorious history of sustainable living ideas.

Visit the library and check out the Gloria Ray Sustainable Living Collection to start on your own personal journey toward a deeper knowledge of what it means to live sustainably.

Feature image from pxfuel

Kimber Glidden, Youth Service Coordinator

Kimber garden

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