Sustainability through the family garden

arugula markerI managed to set up 2 mini hoop-houses and planted a number of lettuce seedlings, yet April was a cold and windy start to the gardening season that left me longing for more.  So far May has made up for it in spades!  I’ve been out in the garden practically every day for the last week, working on preparing one bed or another, planting lettuces and other greens, such as Bok Choy, Mizuna, Tatsoi, Mache, and Arugula.  I’ve planted spinach, and yesterday I planted peas.

After the hustle of last year’s CSA, it’s a good feeling to be growing just for my own family again.  As a micro-farm I offered 10 CSA shares last year at rock-bottom prices because I was a newcomer to the scene, and while I managed to feed all of my subscribers, my own family often missed out on the fresh vegetables because of slim-pickings.  It was a tough year for gardeners; and with little to no help, this one-woman farm struggled to keep up.

This year with the work and construction of the new farm-site and Runamuk’s impending move, I decided to take a step back and garden for my family alone.  The pressure that I placed on myself last year to produce has been lifted, and I feel lighter and more optimistic about providing for my own family.  Gardening is a joyful chore that I take pride in, and I have a feeling that this is going to be a good year.

carrots rockGrowing your own food is a key aspect of any sustainable homestead, and the family garden is an integral part of that system.  If you have property you may be able to grow a garden that takes care of a significant portion–maybe even all–of your family’s food needs.

Home-grown vegetables are fresher and more nutritional than their grocery store counterparts, which may have traveled thousands of miles to reach you.  They have a smaller carbon footprint, and are grown the way you want–organically and without pesticides if you so choose.

You can save money by growing your own food, too, but equally important is the fact that the process of gardening connects your entire family to the Earth by increasing awareness of the natural processes of life that are occurring all around us at any given point in the day.

When we live off the land through our family garden, we are better able to recognize the virtues, the talent, and the beauty of the Earth.  Something is born within us, a connection–love is born.  And when we love our planet we realize that people and the planet are one and the same.  It’s that sort of mindfulness that is needed to protect the Earth, to protect nature and limit climate change.  I think the family garden is–quite likely–the single most powerful tool in creating the change that we need to save ourselves from the harmful effects climate change will mean for us.

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