“If this is food, what have I been eating?” ~ Peggy Hill.  

I reset my life a couple years ago, reassessed my priorities, mustered all our resources, and moved us back to the mountains. Next up was a safe, sustainable supply of food. I knew that much of what we were eating had been shipped from thousands of miles away, and sprayed with a myriad of chemicals. I wanted better, and wanted to be part of the solution, so I set out right away on my first garden… and did almost everything thing wrong. My garden was chaos, but in the end, there were some tomatoes and peppers, and we loved them.

Being accepted into the Build It Up program this year felt like winning the lottery. I’d probably watched a thousand hours of YouTube gardeners over the winter and was determined to succeed, and now I had help. This spring brought classroom instruction, breaking new ground, gorgeous plant starts raised on mountain spring water, seeds and tools. All the right stuff. We had doubled the size of the garden and I was really enjoying the work. Netting the cabbage to keep off those pesky white moths, trellising the peas, it all felt really good.

This Summer, the garden was huge, with new crops and tactics for organic disease and pest control. An abundance of harvest became a daily reward, and food preservation classes helped ensure we’d be safely enjoying the harvest through this winter. I’m officially in love with the garden now and excited for fall, even if a little exhausted. I still haven’t successfully gotten heads of broccoli from seeds, but getting locally grown plant starts means it’s still coming back on the menu.

Build It Up is the perfect description for what this program is doing for the local food network and I’m thrilled to be participating in that change for good. Eating seasonally has became our new lifestyle, and we are healthier and wealthier for it! Working myself up to a market garden, soon! Meanwhile I’ll be in the kitchen canning all these tomatoes…