by RYAN MOEGGENBERG
Our family is still learning to prioritize high quality, nutrient-dense food. It’s not something that we are all used to so there are trade-offs and slow changes in diet and taste. Marcee and I have full time jobs and two kids before producing HomeSpun. Producing our own food is important to us but we are limited due to renting our home. We have a Tower Garden inside, a few raised garden beds next to the back deck and I have planted culinary and medicinal herbs rather than typical landscaping.
Through the magazine I have had conversations that prove that I do not know much about soil or caring for plants other than what I retained from watching my parents. The intricacies of fertilizer do not interest me any more than I need to keep my plants producing for us. I want to garden, but I do not want to be a gardener.
Filling the freezer with elk and venison is a luxury that we miss on years that I do not draw a tag or have unsuccessful hunts. I used to have entire weekends to spend scouting and practicing with my bow. Now I have a few farmer friends that graciously invite me to their property to sneak down a fence row with my rifle and wait until the sun comes up rather than spend a week or more in the forest stalking and hunting properly. With a busy life and still wanting to have the best meat for my family, I hunt — but I am not a hunter, I am a harvester.
Gardening and hunting are both means to an end, the highest quality food we are able to provide. We are transitioning our store purchases from conventional to organic and buying local. When talking about the difference between store bought and home-grown lettuce with the kids they remember what I have said to them before, “Ours tastes better because it was still living one minute ago. Store bought started rotting when it was picked weeks ago.” That’s a lesson that I hope sticks with them for life.
Don’t let self imposed limitations like renting, living in an apartment, a shaded property, deer or soil be excuses. Patios and windowsills can produce more than you think. Plant an herb garden in the window or pole beans up the wall of your patio. Growing food doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t need a degree in soil science. Our Tower Garden doesn’t even have soil and it has provided us all the salads we have wanted for two months now and we can’t wait to taste the tomatoes that started blooming at the end of March! There are ways to grow some of your own nutrition without being a gardener.