Sunday, February 10, 2013

First Kitchen Garden

Before Graham Kerr signed my copy of his latest book "Growing at the Speed of Life: A Year in the Life of My First Kitchen Garden", I had the most unexpected opportunity and great blessing of spending time visiting with Graham and his wife Treena as they waited to be interviewed on-air with Phil Andrus, the show host of "Tossed Salad" on KPTZ 91.9 fm Port Townsend. Until then, I was unaware of the crossroads  they came to earlier in their lives, their salvation and relationship with Jesus Christ, and how the impact of those events, decisions and faith would forever have on his career and their lives, which has led them both to the most fulfilling and rewarding chapter they've written and are living thus far.

Here's a synopsis of the book:
"Growing at the Speed of Life takes you through the first year in his kitchen garden, sharing the lessons learned and the wisdom received from his circle of local knowledge providers. From digging up his “south lawn” and putting together a greenhouse to planting his first seeds and harvesting and sharing his first crop with others in need, Kerr provides a whirlwind tour through his gardening adventures. Along the way, he profiles sixty common-and not-so-common but readily available-garden vegetables, fruits, and herbs with useful advice and recommendations for care and feeding."

Growing at the Speed of Life is a valuable, compact, well-researched and brilliantly organized resource to guide those of us, who are in some degree like Graham in that he "cooked just about everything that grows - but had never grown a thing he'd cooked." Even if you are an avid gardener there is much to learn, as Graham benefited from the advice of gardening experts and in turn we can glean from his experience cultivating his own garden and culinary adventures and pleasures... from garden to the table, from apples to turnips, from basil to thyme, from benefit to the body to the benefit to the community.

I attempted my truly first kitchen garden, an organic vegetable and herb garden, when we operated our bed and breakfast in rural Oregon. But alas, although the typar (roofing underlayment) lining my garden boxes kept the vols and moles from tunneling into them, the wild rabbits and deer were unrestrained from grazing for greens and nibbling away at my edible flowers and aromatic sweet peas ... but I digress.

In my attempt to eat healthy, I've run the gamut of shopping local, buying freshly harvested organic produce at the farmers market wherever we've lived, shopping the periphery of grocery stores - avoiding the isles, where lifeless boxes and dead-weight canned goods crowd the shelves. I shop for whole foods and fresh produce, because I've only lived in two places where vegetable gardening has been possible - it seems like there has always something making it less than convenient, lacking adequate light or space. Where I live today is no exception. I do have light, but I will have to give up parking space and grow everything in containers. Then there's the matter of the deer and rabbits and nowhere to erect a critter-proof fence. 

But I'd like to try vegetable and herb gardening again, even if it's relegated to the enclosed sun porch in our passive-solar house. Because I realize that as time goes on, growing our own food is going to be a necessity rather than a hobby or a luxury. We have to learn how to grow, harvest and prepare our own food, then pass this knowledge on, especially to the younger generation. And this is is what Graham is on a mission to do in his personal life and shares with us in his 29th book, and when on tour giving presentations, like the one I attended yesterday. Learn more at Graham's website and join the conversation, "The Ripple Effect". Graham's current goals are to:
  • Help to increase US consumption of fruit and vegetables by 100% to 7 servings per day by 2020.
  • Help to reduce portion sizes to safe “reasonable” levels.
  • Promote the idea of converting habits that harm into resources that heal.
  • School Meals enhanced through initiatives such as the 1095 Club.
More about Graham Kerr here.

I leave you with a poem by Treena Kerr from her book of poetry, Substance in Shadow.


All creation's new  beginnings.
Wake to stirrings of adoring.
All expecting, waiting, aching.
Stretching up, anticipating,
Beautifying, glorifying,
Giving thanks while testifying.
This new-birth, so purifying,
Sings a song while prophesying.
Hope and life are now reviving
God and earth are harmonizing.