The Home Growers Circle: Real people with a passion to grow real food

Ethel & Bill Robert Charmaine & Brian Brandon Nancy Lewis & Tara Malika & Donny Andy & Susanna Craig & Gary Warren & Lovejoy

Charmaine & Brian / Silver Lake

There's no better time to grow than right now.

Charmaine & Brian

Thursday, November 11, 2010 at 8:20PM

I'm inspired to write this, our first blog entry as members of the Home Growers Circle, because the L.A. Times just ran a great piece on Edendale Farm, a garden in the heart of Los Angeles run by a volunteers and born out of a desire to show that a slower pace is indeed possible.

Why does slow matter? I read In Praise of Slowness a while back and realized that in slowing down, weíre really just questioning perceived efficiency in our lives. For example, driving above the speed limit. Consider that countless studies indicate speeding only saves drivers a couple minutes at most. What is the cost of those saved minutes? The risks are not limited to emotional stress and financial loss (hello, officer), but include the heightened chance that you could find yourself involved in an accident. For the sake of a few minutes.

Applying this frame of thought to food ....

Many of us are busy people with busy lives. We buy ready-made meals that take the grunt- and guesswork out of preparation; a few minutes in the microwave and dinner is on the table. We drink our coffee on the go, and buy take out for a quick meal during the workday. We are rushed, anxious, stressed out and losing touch with the food on which rely on for sustenance. Iím not one to point fingers as Iíve purchased a fair share of prepared food and opted more often than not to dine out rather than in. And Iíve done it all for the sake of sparing a few minutes in the kitchen to do something else instead. But I have to wonder - what is the cost of the time ďsavedĒ? And is it really worth it?

Our physical and emotional health and wellbeing is inexplicably intertwined with food: from what we're eating and how it was grown and prepared, to where we're eating it and who we're eating it with. Should we be a little more introspective about our uniquely personal situation when it comes to whatís on our plate and what we're putting in our mouths?

When it comes to our food, are we cutting too many corners? Are we speeding over bumps that we should be taking with far more caution or care? Are we blindly racing toward our destination without a second thought to consequence? Are the gains worth the means? Are we saving time but wasting something else much more precious?

For us, we decided to stop saving time, and instead start savoring it. We tweaked our lifestyle to make space for activities that we valued and wanted to spend more time on. In the case of food, we wondered if we could have a more substantial stake in the lifecycle of our food (that is, from cultivation to consumption) by growing some of our own. It takes time, it isnít perfect, and itís learning curve thatís short for some and lengthier for others (we definitely find ourselves in the latter category). From backyard to table, itís our way of taking long, scenic route.

Itís a road that deserves to be more traveled and we know the most difficult step is figuring out where to begin. You can grow herbs on your windowsill or balcony, start a garden in your backyard or cultivate a space in a community garden. You can yardshare with neighbors, or guerrilla garden on an abandoned plot. The best part is that, however how you do it, slowing down doesn't place a roadblock on your quality of life; it simply brings an awareness to what matters most.

Ways to support
urban farming
in Los Angeles

Community partners have stepped forward with ways you can support local growers:

We know how much everyone in this city loves the movies. Have you seen this one? The Garden is an Academy Award nominated documentary that tells the story of urban farmers who struggle against land developers to keep their community farm in South Central Los Angeles alive. This film offers a revealing look at the challenges of urban farming in a megacity once known for its agricultural output. The director of the film, Scott Hamilton Kennedy, is a Silver Lake resident and he has offered to not only sell DVDs of the film at a 10% discount, but also grant 10% of proceeds to support the certification fees of future participants of the Home Growers Circle. Buy a DVD and help us build support for an eleventh urban microfarmer. Maybe we'll have to ask one of the microfarmers to raise some corn so that we can make some home-grown movie popcorn. Click here to order a DVD and support the Home Growers Circle. Remember to use promotional code FORAGE.