Like many in my generation, I grew up on a farm. It was small but fed our family well despite our modest means. I could not imagine when I left to pursue a career in nursing that I would come full circle back to my childhood experience. This time with a new understanding of the fundamental requirement for good health: locally grown, organic, nutritious food. Becoming pregnant with the first of my two sons brought a special passion and sense of urgency to that understanding. Knowing how to feed myself is a priceless gift from my parents. In a way, growing food is a way of keeping their memory alive and preserving some of my cultural heritage.
I now believe that producing nutrient-dense food without the use of synthetic chemicals, teaching others to do the same, and in so doing protecting our Earth home, represent a most powerful nursing practice. Pure food, produced through sustainable growing methods, is a fundamental ingredient for healthy, thriving bodies, and the future of our planet.
And though I have been growing food organically for 30 years, I am a perpetual student. I enjoy experimenting and learning about the peculiarities of edible plants, especially those native to this region. While there are many challenges to organic growing, the fabulous flavors and variety more than compensate for the effort.
Growing food organically meets our needs in the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. Thus it is sustainable. Read labels of anything you contemplate putting on the food you grow or your yard. If you don’t want to drink, eat, or breathe it, don’t use it. Nothing you apply stays exactly where you put it and everything you do affects something else.
I hope you will be inspired to become an intentional participant in feeding yourself, your family, and your community. Though our homes have displaced wild habitat, growing diverse and resilient plants in our yards can begin to restore food and habitat for other species while providing us new tastes, superior nutrition, and visual delights.