Saturday, February 28, 2009


When we started out, we just wanted to grow our own food, for two reasons I think: It was deeply compelling for unknown reasons, and we wanted to save trips to the store. In the beginning, that was a matter of convenience. Later it was a financial necessity.

Long gas lines and high prices were only a couple of years behind us. That may have fed into our desire not waste gas only to end up in grocery stores buying blah manufactured food.

Plus, beginning in 1971, I had studied healthy living at the feet of my life-mentor, Kay Ferguson. She just naturally had a garden, and fed her family out of it every night. I learned about what I was serving my family, and watched her techniques as she prepared veggies, salads, brown rice in her cast iron pot.

Her garden was full of all sorts of veggies. It was beautiful. When she moved to a new house, one of the first projects was getting in the new garden.

She had grown up on a farm herself, and it was just what she did. The big difference between her and the rest of us is that she remembered how to eat, and we had all forgotten. We had taken the easy way out of buying processed cereals, hot dogs, and so on. Today's grocery selection is much worse, but we still had additives and broken foods in 1971 when I met Kay, and she had no tolerance for them.

From her I learned how to make lentil soup and stir-fried veggies, from her garden in season or from our 'organic' food coop that flew it in from California once a week. Her son Bob was just as proficient a cook and could serve up fine meals with little effort to those of us who worked with him at the TM center in Wellesley.

'Organic' was a newish word with somewhat unknown meanings to me.

A good part of what I wanted from a garden was good food. And convenient food. And self-sufficiency meant growing what we ate.

Or in reality it meant eating what we grew, but that's another story.

We had a lot of work ahead of us as we faced the unbroken sod that September. It was still only a dream beginning to become a plan. Not a half year had passed away from the first inklings of undertaking a new lifestyle. And we had taken a very big bite.

In the end, 5 years later when we moved to Tucson, we knew we could live self-sufficiently. And in between, we learned what that really meant, the hard way.


Real said...

You're welcome to come help me in my garden my this summer. I keep failing miserably at growing my own food.

Peg Lewis said...

Love to!

I have had other offers...