A move to Spokane, Washington, in the summer of 2004 brought many expected changes to our young family of four. There was a new call to pastor a congregation, new schools, a new house. But our home's ready-to-harvest vegetable garden came as one of our biggest surprises. Little did we know, as we tentatively plucked tomatoes and snapped green beans off the vine for the first time in our lives, that this little inherited garden would bring the most change.
Before then, I had never seen homeowners mow their lawn or trim their trees, let alone harvest a backyard bounty of zucchini. For my husband, Craig, a lowly rhubarb plant provided his lone agrarian experience growing up in the Seattle suburbs. Like many in our Gen X generation, we grew up far removed from farming and agriculture, but since our first accidental harvest, we have joined a growing movement of backyard farmers.
A combination of recession economics and interest in "green" living has led to unprecedented growth in vegetable garden seed sales in recent years. Home Depot has named "Growing Your Own Food" one of its three gardening trends for 2011. "Edible landscaping" is a new catchphrase as we enter the heat of a new growing season. As a pastor and a Christian, I've come to see this move toward gardening as not only a step toward health and sustainability, but also as fertile ground for spiritual formation.
Craig has been the driving force behind our growing garden through the years. He added a greenhouse and turned every bare patch of earth in our yard into productive land. I have focused on weeding and cooking the harvest. I didn't think we could expand the garden further until 2008, when our family committed to limit purchasing items that were local, used, homegrown, ...1
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