Mom was a terrible cook. Her passion was her work and she had little energy at the end of the day to focus on preparing good food. She did great community service work but she never quite figured out how important it was to eat real food. My brother, sister, and I grew up on boxed sugary cereals each morning for breakfast. We drank Tang instead of orange juice, because the astronauts drank it. We ate school lunches and macaroni and cheese with hot dogs for supper alternating between frozen pot pies or TV dinners. Mom could even burn green beans and once managed to burn up the range hood cooking them. She also invited the entire family for Thanksgiving one year ordering the dinner from the local grocery store, not realizing that the food would was not cooked. Thanksgiving dinner was delayed.

I remember being frequently sick and tired as a child and I suppose you don’t find it surprising that Mom first developed thyroid problems, then shortly after, diabetes in her thirties. I knew there had to be a better way and got really interested in nutrition and holistic healing as a young woman. My path took me to Chiropractic College and then on to study Clinical Nutrition. My practice has always had an emphasis on nutrition and the role real food has on the health of my patients. My husband introduced me to the books of Helen and Scott Nearing. This couple moved to an old farm in Vermont during the Depression and proceeded to grow organic produce and to live the “simple life.” We have been inspired by the Nearings and other early pioneers of sustainable living and organic gardening since we married. We have had an organic garden everywhere we have lived since we married in 1979. Now, the garden and the soil call to me in the spring and I long to get my hands into the dirt. I enjoy cooking and look forward to that fresh real food. Our years of gardening experiences are a pleasure to pass on and we are avid supporters of the permaculture movement and permaculture designs. Permaculture promotes care of the earth, care of the people, and sharing the excess with others.

Our son is growing food for the local farmer’s market and our daughter, though she hates to work in the yard, cooks daily and gets produce from her local CSA. Our granddaughters help in the garden and in the kitchen. We want our grandchildren to have similar desires to grow food and then prepare it with love. Gardening and preparing good food is an important part of my life, and my family’s life and supports my values. My values include: Vitality-I won’t feel vitality unless I eat real food and move my body. Compassion-I offer the greatest compassion to my family when I care for myself. Love-I care for my family and for the earth with love and by connection with others. Abundance-the earth produces so much, and I enjoy the bounty of the earth and sharing the excess with others. Integrity-caring for this beautiful planet and following through with my goals and intentions to build healthy permaculture communities and a sustainable world are some of the ways I live a life of integrity. Build your garden, grow your compassion, and share your bounty with all of the people that you love.