We had a family get together a couple of weeks ago.
It's always fun trying to explain to family or friends who I haven't seen for awhile about what I do for a "living."
"I have a website where I teach people about growing a vegetable garden, and organic gardening in general."
"How do you make money?"
"I have a blog where I give away information for free, but then I also have an online course that gets into much more detail on organic gardening, with a focus on how to grow a vegetable garden full of highly nutritious food."
Make sense to me, but I think it's quite a foreign concept to most people.
My family and friends are very supportive, but I can see on their faces that it doesn't always click.
I think they don't understand how it works, and I imagine to the uninitiated it sounds like a rather disposable, unimportant service I'm providing.
Organic gardening. A hobby. Who cares, right?
When I was younger, I was lucky enough to get it in my head that I could achieve whatever I wanted in life.
For whatever reason, I was reasonably bright, so for example, perhaps I could have been a doctor.
And yet, I think I'll actually help more people doing what I'm doing now.
That's not to say that doctors aren't important for your health - it's just that growing a vegetable garden full of nutrient-dense food is one of the most important things you can do for your health in my view.
It's preventative medicine. I don't know about you, but for me, eating healthy food and exercising and doing things to keep my stress down are my main doctors.
Dr. William A. Albrecht got me thinking about this today. He was one of the most influential people in the organic farming world. He realized he could help more people by being a soil scientist than by staying on his original path of becoming a medical doctor.
So yes, organic gardening is fun, and the outcome can be very aesthetically pleasing, which is fine.
But many non-gardeners think it stops there, as a hobby, perhaps a bit of an elitist hobby. Or maybe just a way to increase the value of a home.
Yet, if you're growing a vegetable garden and learning how to get all of the nutrients into that food - a little more difficult than it used to be when we had better soils in many areas, but still doable - then that food is medicine.
Some nutrient-dense foods have the same anti-inflammatory ingredients that are in aspirin, just as one example.
That is not happening in food from most grocery stores and farmer's markets.
The thing that most people don't know is that vegetables from your own organic vegetable garden have the potential to be many times more nutritious than foods from the grocery store.
That's partially because they were freshly picked just a few minutes before you eat them, but also because you can get all of the 60, 70, 80+ nutrients into them, and in high quantities.
Even if you don't learn about growing highly nutritious vegetables and fruits and you just grow any kind of basic food, it's one of the most rewarding feelings in the world. You're hooked, right?
Not to mention the environmental and social benefits. Permaculturist Geoff Lawton said "you can fix all the world's problems in a garden."
When you learn about growing a vegetable garden and you study permaculture and other organic gardening methods, you start to see how important this is.
I know that gardening was my introduction into sustainable living, politics, and nutrition, my movement away from materialism and over-consumption, and even my ability to question conventional thinking on pretty much everything.
So back to this recent family gathering. I pulled out a copy of my new gardening book, which I had just received in the mail 2 days before.
I saw it on their faces. They got it right away. I think they understood a little better just exactly what I do.
A book is something we all understand. This one's called 'Building Soils Naturally', and it's obviously not as comprehensive is my online course, but it's jam-packed with information about improving your soil and growing a vegetable garden.
It's now available for order. More info on all of this here: Building Soils Naturally
Why are you interested in growing a vegetable garden? What doors has gardening opened for you? What are you harvesting this weekend? Let me know below.