HOME GROWN: Kitchen gardeners come in all types
I’ve always welcomed reader comments and questions via email and based on the emails received and the dialogues that often ensue, I like to think that I am afforded a glimpse into not only the types of people that engage in kitchen gardening but also their motivations for doing so.
Call it market research if you will but, like me, you may be surprised by what I have discovered concerning the ever-expanding demographic of the kitchen gardener in Barbados.
When I first started kitchen gardening I must admit that I learned to keep a low profile.
In some circles I felt a tone of condescension from people that learned of my pursuit, as they made statements such as: “That’s so nice, you grow your own food.”
Best for the family I quickly realised that my opinions on the need for self-sustenance were perceived by many as a bit off the mark. I was, however, doing what I deemed best for my family, all the while having a great time pursuing a hobby that I love.
In the two and a half years that I have been writing Home Grown I’ve never received an email from a detractor. I’ve ever only received emails from people who are proud
of their gardens, asking a question or retelling their “war stories” ranging from the smallest of achievements, that in reality aren’t so small, to the seemingly grandest of ideas whose attainment is likely right around the corner.
I used to think that perhaps in this day and age kitchen gardening was a woman’s realm. My readers have, however, proven me wrong time and again. With the introduction of aquaponics into my garden, male readers have shown tremendous interest and enthusiasm.
I am at times disappointed that I have not been able to reach school-age children – at all. My son has always been actively involved in my garden. In my own clandestine way I’ve included him in these columns to encourage him, as he learns to read, to himself read what I write about our garden.
He has started to bring my column to school for his teacher to read to the class. These are the minds we need to reach, to teach the power and value of self-sufficiency.
The moral of the story? Kitchen gardeners are all types. In each and every one of us, those that count ourselves kitchen gardeners, there is the ability to pass on the knowledge that we have acquired to the next generation.
Who knows, maybe this week I’ll receive an email from a young reader. Now that would be a first!