Going Broke at the Gas Station and Grocery Store? Try a new Kind of Victory Garden

My dad has always had a vegetable garden. When I was a kid, I helped plant it and weed it. I had the joyful task of turning compost for the thing and even of planting fish around the tomatoes. We ate out of it all summer every summer.

Dad would trade the rhubarb we didn't like for the peppers his Italian barber grew like nobody else in this world. Other times, dad traded cherry stone clams for whatever Rocco had. Cucumbers went to work with dad to for his coworkers' salads.

The best part of August was when the tomatoes came in, softened, warm, and red from the sun so that it seemed no knife was sharp enough to slice them; they had to be eaten like apples--over the sink.

Every garden seems big when you're pulling weeds in the summer heat, but our garden was not huge. Yet it provided plenty for our table in its own right and as currency for other things.

This was back in the day when environmentalism was a thing John Denver did all by himself somewhere in Colorado. Now it's cool. Author Barbara Kingsolver has written about it in her book Animal, Vegetable, and Miracle, a Year of Food Life. She and her family in Tucson, Arizona, ate locally for a year. This week, she'll talk about her story with Krista Tippett on Speaking of Faith.

Her thinking is neither new nor unique, but it is pretty important and pressing now as gas and food prices are skyrocketing. "When the average North American sits down to eat, each ingredient has typically travelled at least 1,500 miles—call it "the SUV diet,'" says the website 100-Mile Diet. This is a great site to visit for practical ideas on how to eat locally.

Another place to go is the site LocalHarvest, which offers a directory of local farmers' markets across the US.

If you're going broke at the grocery store and the gas station, maybe it's time for this new kind of victory garden.


  1. Anonymous11:52 AM

    I found your site through the URL you left when you commented on one of my posts... I have enjoyed my visit to your site very much!

    Choosing Voluntary Simplicity

  2. Ah, yes. Today we had the victory of gathering about $30 worth of raspberries (without cost). Just an hour of our time on a hike through a magical wood (my girls were making up stories of fairies along the way). Free fun, with rich gifts!

  3. What a beautiful time! $30-worth of berries AND fairies is quite the bumper crop!

  4. Anonymous1:15 PM

    Ah, if only there was space...


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