World Soil Day came at a perfect moment, prompting me to reflect all the way back to the very beginning of this journey. Soil is where all food begins. It’s also exactly where we started back in January: standing before an expanse of crumbly dry dirt and wondering how I could possibly bring it to life. I knew nothing. And then I began to learn.
I attended local classes where instructors taught us how to analyze soil’s texture and amend it with organic matter. I joined the county’s Master Composters and began creating my own rich compost at home with an indoor worm bin and an outdoor pile. Eventually I gathered seeds from the region; I planted and watered and weeded and waited. I got my hands dirty over the months until, at last, I harvested the fruits of my labor.
I didn’t harvest all that much, of course. If I actually needed to feed myself then I’d have starved to death long ago, just as I predicted. But the goal wasn’t to become a self-sufficient food producer overnight. It was to experience how much time and effort and care go into producing the food we eat. It was to learn about the vast ecosystem of land and people who labor on our behalf each day to produce our food and enable us to live. And it was to explore how we can support a food system that’s healthy and sustainable, locally and globally.
In that sense, I think this has been a good year for me and my little food garden.