The past few weeks have caught me in an unsuspected whirlwind of activity and I couldn’t be more grateful. Life has picked up speed and I’m enjoying the ride. So why a sudden change?
I’ve decided to follow my interests and passions while trying to throw my worries, hesitations and cautions to the wind. Putting stress and concerns aside is challenging but worth every effort in the short and long term. Letting go in every way is the hardest part but I find when I stop trying to control and predict the future, life is a lot easier. I’ve been identifying my new goals, dreams and ideas and trying to put societal and/or family expectations aside and it’s making all the difference.
While in South Africa, I was disappointed to rarely see amazing first grade produce available in grocery stores and to the typical consumer. Almost all first grade produce is picked and immediately exported to countries willing to pay the highest price. Unfortunately, every equation involving products and consumers ends with whose offering the most money. Yet food production is a bit more complex and the end result shouldn’t simply be about money, or at least the people receiving the most profit are not necessarily the ones most deserving or hardest working.
I promised myself, when I returned home, I’d read Michael Pollan’s account of the US farming industry and food production in The Ominvores’s Dilemma. He’s insightful and educational with a dose of humorous commentary to highlight the politics and greed in feeding America. Now that I’m in the middle of reading it, I’m happy to know it was available in many book store shelves in South Africa as well as Barbara Kingsolver’s, wonderful account of living for a year on her families farm in rural Vermont and living within the seasons and eating what’s available from their farm and neighboring farmers, limiting their food access to 100 mile radius. A great book worth the read for the curious on if its possible or you want a better understanding of what it means to eat locally and seasonally, having your own garden/farm and inspiration to eat more sustainably. It’s easier than you think.
After several months of uncertainty-wanting to know what’s next yet wanting to be ready for anything- a friend suggested I get involved with local gardens since I kept having the dream to find a place similar to Bulungula lodge. I hesitated rattling on about not knowing what I was going to do and I didn’t want to Commit if I could potentially be leaving at any moment. Except weeks and months kept passing me by and not too much was happening and I realized, maybe she had a point. I had to start somewhere. While researching something for herself pertaining to gardening, she forwarded me a list of helpful links and the rest sort of fell into place. I searched further and found a nearby community garden wanting volunteers so on impulse I emailed both contacts listed and inquired. Both contacted me within a few hours and within a few days, I was given a tour of the garden by the Master Gardener. It felt so natural to be in the garden. I’d found my place. I don’t have a set schedule. I show up when I can or when the gardener tells me he’ll be there. I love when he’s there because I learn an incredible amount every time and we always seem to have random discussions about the food industry or what’s really important in life.
Working alongside someone whose passionate about what they know and so willing to share inspires me. He started the garden2 years ago and spends countless hours maintaining it- weeding, planting, building planter boxes, composting, watering and creating new innovative methods. He even hosts free workshops as a way to share and give back to the community.
When I’m in the garden, I’m reminded to follow my heart. Life is easier this way.