I grew up on small and large farms in Arkansas (with my dad) and North Dakota (with my mom), and have called Chicago home for over a dozen years. The land in Arkansas where I spend most of my childhood has been in my family for 5 generations, and I learned very early, eating animals and vegetables that my family raised, where food comes from, and how important it is to take care of the place that feeds you, to build your soil, save your seeds, and teach those you encounter to respect the place they come from. Eating food that you raised connects you intimately to the place that you’re in.
Food is my religion… growing it, cooking it, storing and preserving it. I am an obsessive label-reader in the store… I’m really picky about what’s in the stuff I buy- what’s in it, where it came from, how and where it was produced and by whom… but I also hate waste, so if a neighbor gives me grits or veggies from the food pantry, I’m going to eat them even if they came from ADM or Chile. Whatever we can’t eat goes to the chickens, the red worms, or the compost pile. I try to grow as much as we can, and it’s a little more every year. My goals for this year are to keep expanding the gardens, get better at rotating crops, and to can and dry more and freeze less. I’ll try to take pictures and post how-to’s so you can learn along with me. So, dust off that apron, get in the kitchen, and whip up a little bit of love!