GROWING IS GIVING - GATHER - Growing Beautiful Food: A Gardener's Guide to Cultivating Extraordinary Vegetables and Fruit (2015)

Growing Beautiful Food: A Gardener's Guide to Cultivating Extraordinary Vegetables and Fruit (2015)



We must give more in order to get more. It is the generous giving of ourselves that produces the generous harvest.



There’s so much pleasure to be found in harvesting after a long season of growth: all of the anticipation of moving from seed to seedling; the patient, careful cultivation; the slow vegetal foreplay; and then—after months—abundance.

This is food with a pulse from a place you’ve nurtured intimately, and there is much joy and wonder in it.

Gathering what you’ve grown, with flavors that have seasoned in your own ground—the exhilaration of crisp greens, the aromatic warmth of garden tomatoes, the deep and complex sweetness of homegrown carrots and beets—will bring life to your table. It will also inspire family, friends, and community to come together around a common idea of what it means to live and eat well.

Cultivating food is about the intimacy and importance of sharing not only your garden and table, but also your heart. A person growing is a person giving, after all.

I started out by growing for my family, and once I’d failed and prevailed for a few seasons, I began to grow for others. My small farm now reaches out to my community in ways I couldn’t have imagined.

And while I’ve built a working farm, I’ve also been lucky enough to build bonds outside of my gates. Transpose the acronym CSA, and you get ASC—agriculture supporting community—one of the less-hyped virtues of starting or joining a local farm. So when a neighbor comes by for a carton of eggs or just wants to see what’s “growin’ on” at Stonegate, those are the seeds of community. It’s too easy in an age of instant, downloadable everything to live isolated among strangers, but if you grow food, your garden will become a gathering place.

Delicious organics may be the harvest, but so is a deep sense of happiness and well-being, and this will lead to a meaningful transformation. You will become more self-reliant, more fulfilled, more free. When your vegetables and fruit have ripened through the season, your honey is heavy in the comb, and chickens are laying daily, there’s a kind of harmonic, balanced convergence of life around you. “Paradise is where I am,” said philosopher/gardener Voltaire, and as you begin to grow—despite all of the fickle and exasperating moments of being a food-gardener—you will find paradise where you are.