On Growing Food

More and more people are growing their food. For some it's a life in farming, and for some, it's tearing out a strip of lawn and putting in some corn, or placing a pot of basil in their kitchen window. I'm all for it if it means a deepening connection between people and the source of their food. See, somewhere along the line, the majority of our society lost that connection. We all need a little tickle to get back in the dirt.

One person I know who inspires folks to get dirty is Scott Chaskey, the man holding the beautiful salad in the above photo. He grows food like he grows his beard: with commitment and a touch of whimsy. Scott has farmed on Long Island for over twenty years and taught me a few things about growing food over the years.

From the $64 tomato growers to kids sprouting their first bean seed in a coffee can, when folks see food grow for the first time, their excitement for gardening trickles over into eating more vegetables, supporting local farm efforts, and cooking more. That excites me.

In cities, there are thriving gardens, irrigating themselves from the fire hydrant, and in the country heroic families and farming collectives sticking it out to continue providing food by farming their land instead of selling it off. People gather in gardens and on farmland. Most gardens and farms provide more than food: there is often music, poetry, education, even weddings and memorials. That excites me, too.

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Here at The Kitchn, we cover the gardening thing with enthusiasm; in part because we believe that a discussion about growing food is integral to the discussion of cooking and eating it, but also because Faith, The Kitchn's managing editor, and I both grow food.

I started with little pots on my windowsill in college, then graduated to five community gardens in Yonkers, New York that I helped manage as part of my first job out of college at The Greyston Foundation. Then I met Maxwell, whose mother kindly let me start planting food on her land in the country. Max and I married, and now the garden there is my oasis. I also still grow a few things on our windowsill in NYC: dwarf banana trees, Meyer lemons, and small row of herbs that I snip for pops of flavor in my daily cooking.

Faith tends a beautiful garden in her backyard in Ohio. This year she's excited about English shelling peas, arugula, komatsuna greens, Japanese eggplant, tomatoes, and Raven bush zucchini. I'm excited about the posted recipes that will surely come from those crops.

If you aren't growing something to eat yet, why not spend this weekend planting a row of something to eat instead of a strip of lawn? Fill your window sill with pots of herbs instead of letting it collect dust. If you're already growing food, send us a photo.

Here is a taste of our gardening coverage, to whet your green thumb:

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Sara Kate is the founding editor of The Kitchn. She co-founded the site in 2005 and has since written three cookbooks. She is most recently the co-author of The Kitchn Cookbook, to be published in October 2014 by Clarkson Potter.