Food Independence: An Open Letter of Encouragement

My Personal Message to You

This is not the typical “how-to” entry, the sharing of a practical skill, that is the normal entry to the Grow Network Writing Contest.  Call it an open letter, a letter to myself and to anyone else who may also stand in my shoes.

I am one who has been impatient with myself for not implementing all the wonderful skills and advice that I find and read online.  I firmly believe in the immense benefits of growing one’s own food, and of attaining as much independence as can be achieved.

I have held these beliefs since I was very small, when I ate food that a wonderful great aunt grew in her one acre garden.  I also believe in the healing effects of herbs, and the benefit of learning that discipline.  I believe these things, whether or not there is an imminent economic collapse or any other disaster.  These skills are important in mid-wiving the emergence of a kinder, more sustainable world.

Video: Marjory’s “Living Spice Cabinet”

Walking the Path To Food Independence

Sadly for me, I have not managed to progress upon that path.  There are the usual reasons of space, time, resources, and the like.  In the end, those are just excuses, and I know it.  They are excuses generated by guilt and self-condemnation.

As a teacher and a practitioner of martial arts, I should know better.  A skill is achieved when a student is ready to achieve it, and each student has a unique time frame.  Some “get it” and perform immediately.  Others may practice for an extended period, and then, when totally unexpected, the magic moment arrives, and the goal is reached.

For example, some children do not talk at all until they are two or three years old.  They may babble, but true speech is not there.  Then, one fine day, they burst forth with complete sentences and a perfectly adequate vocabulary.  They were not retarded, just biding their time and quietly absorbing.

Read more: Balcony Gardening – Big Food Production in Small Spaces

Stay the Course

So, to myself and those in similar situations, do not give up.  Your time will come, and by persistence you will find it.  If you, like me, do not yet have a garden, have not mastered soil health and composting, have not even managed to grow herbs in your large or small kitchens, do not despair.

Keep reading, keep listening, keep learning, and one day things will simply click.  Your garden, your herbs, your ability to actually do what you have learned will manifest itself.

Since I am only the mother of seven, I cannot call myself the mother of twelve.  Instead, call me Bertilsgirl, as Bertil was my father.


Note: This article was an entry in our October – December 2014 writing contest. Click here to find out about our current writing contest.

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This post was written by Anthony Tamayo


  • Connection to an actual person who lives nearby, not an email buddy, would help greatly. The email and internet are wonderful, but they do not substitute for human presence. Thanks.

  • There’s an old Chinese proverb that says: “A journey of 1,000 miles starts with the first step.” Tell yourself that you will just take one small step of actually trying something, even if it is sprouting seeds (really easy to do and very nutritious,) or growing herbs. Buy a kit to motivate yourself to actually do something. Just take that first step and see where the journey leads you.

  • Mike63Denver says:

    Sharing joy forms a bridge between the eagerness of an innocent child and the exuberance of a fun loving teenager.

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