I remember a campaign as a kid that was put out by the FDA and the nutritional requirements we were suppose to be getting. The marketing line was You Are What You Eat. As a smart-ass kid, this line was utterly meaningless to me. I was an apple, a burger, carrots? What the hell?
I used to eat everything. As a youth, I could not put on weight and I was always hungry. I graduated from high school weighing 135 lbs carried on a 6' 2" frame. I was skinny. I am still tall and lean, but carry a modest 195 lbs on this lean frame today. My eating habits were not the greatest as a youth, but I supplemented all the soda pops, ice cream and junk foods with nutritious food as well. I also ate my share of fast food.
I didn't begin growing my garden as a health kick. I just wanted to tend a little plot of earth. I started going to Farmer's markets and I took an interest in agriculture and our agricultural and food system in the US. Slowly, I started to realize that I was made up of what I put into my body and I became much more conscious of what I ate. I now grow a lot of vegetables, berries and flowers in a garden that is about 120 ft x 80 ft. I don't use chemicals and I have great success and yields from meticulous composting, weeding, soil-building and mulching. I have raised beds that I place plants close together and grow all my vining plants upwards (tomatoes, cucumbers, melons and squash). I grow clover in the paths between the beds and come July and August, my garden becomes transformed into an oasis where I go to sit amongst plants, flowers and greenery with a cold beer and the radio tuned to a Minnesota Twins baseball game or Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion.
Now, I only eat food that I have some idea of where it comes from and how it has been raised or grown. I feel healthy and strong. My plan is to work at my job for as long as it takes to take my hobby of gardening and transforming it into a business as a small farm or Community Supported Agriculture. I am in the process of looking for land to start my organic farm and business around the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. I want to raise chickens, beef cattle, dairy cattle, hogs, goats, and sheep and grow every variety of vegetables you can imagine. That is my goal. I want to be a farmer. But, for now, I am happy in my garden. Soon, I will post some pictures of my garden paradise and the fruits of my labors.