Gardening always brings certain thoughts to my mind. Mostly, thoughts about my ability to survive in pioneering days. I always wonder if my vegetable patch would be enough to feed my family of six, or if we would succumb to starvation and dysentery, like in the old Oregon Trail game. I’m still often thankful that I don’t have to completely rely on my gardening skills and have a well-stocked supermarket nearby. The Build It Up program has, however, dramatically improved my probability of surviving the next apocalypse.

While I started out with some gardening know how, the Build It Up program has really fine-tuned my skills. I’ve learned so much about bug and disease mitigation, greatly enhancing my yields. And while not everything I’ve planted has turned into digestible gold, I have succeeded more often than not this year. (I’m looking at you, snow peas!) I’ve been able to can enough jars of tomato goodness to last me through an East Tennessee winter and still eaten countless mater and mayo sandwiches. While I wish my children enjoyed the consumption of the garden produce like I do, they have been enthusiastic about the care and planting of our veggies.

My children have been greatly involved in the nurturing of our garden. All four of them have taken ownership of the different sections and vegetables. They take great delight in planting, watering, and picking the spoils of their hard work. I have to believe that at some point, Lord willing, they will also delight in the eating of them. As I have just planted a fall garden for the first time ever, they will continue to have opportunities to potentially reject new foods all winter long.

I’m thankful for being a part of this program and look forward to enjoying all my garden still has to offer in the coming months.