A few months ago, I left my job. I had worked for years as a key executive in a rising menswear company. I had finally reached "that" point: I was working with mentors who were so high profile, I never thought I'd meet them, no less have their personal cell. I had just wrapped up a project with a major film company to provide mens wardrobe for a film that went on to win at Sundance. I was also miserable.
My life was a chain of unending urgent tasks, late night calls, and fourteen hour days. My hair was falling out. I woke up daily with excruciating lower back pain, which I later learned was an early sign of kidney failure. I went from being slim to emaciated. For the first time in my life, I had to ask myself: is my health and sanity a reasonable price to live this "dream?" On a very dark day in February, I left.
I took my years of experience working for a small company and turned it into a business. One of my first clients was a company that collects household food waste and turns it into compost. The owner gave me two bags of compost after our first meeting and told me to try it out.
I like to know and experience what I'm promoting. In the past, that had been free prototypes of clothing. Now I was getting dirt.
I spent the next four days creating a garden on the tiny outdoor walkway of my Philadelphia apartment. For four days, I did nothing but build and plant in ten hour spurts. I wasn't just building a garden - I felt truly present and engaged for the first time in years. I was creating something, and for the first time since I could remember the object of my passion and work wasn't killing me.
I took those days to think about the things I loved that I stopped doing. I thought about all the days I spent in the garden with my mother as a child. I thought about the fun I had in college during the frigid Minnesota winter, planting and pruning the massive indoor garden at the Veggie Co-Op. And I promised myself that I would do a better job being true to who I was and what I loved to do.
As humans, we have a basic instinct to cultivate. We love to watch things grow. And yet, as a society, we've worked hard to push this instict to the side. We live in a hyper-world filled with intangible things and virutal experiences. In the process, have we forgotten how to be human?
Plants run on their own timeline. They grow slowly, and in doing so teach us patience. They demand intense care for months, and in the process remind us that immediate returns are not part of nature's rythem. They reconnect us to what is means to be truly human, and remind us of our purpose and our responsibilty to care for the earth and enrich our communities.
I live in Philadelphia on the borderline between ritzy of center city and the impovrished areas that surround it. The reality of modern urban life is something that I can't escape. The bodegas in my neighborhood don't sell produce. Like most cities, Philadelphia is plagued with food deserts.
I don't belive that things have to be this way. Anyone can start a garden with the resources they throw away. What would our cities look like if we all started gardens from the seeds we eat, using the containers we throw out?
I spent ten dollars starting a garden that feeds my household and a handful of our favorite neighbors. I want to show you how you can achieve the same thing.
My goal in creating this resource: provide the tools necessary so anyone, anywhere, with any budget can start a garden that sustains itself, and produces healthy food for your household and community.
I want to invite you to take the chance to experience something real that can change your life. Whether you're a socialite or a single mother working to make ends meet, you can do this and it will improve your life.
My goal is to create a community that is open, inclusive and informative. This site is not a one way conversation - it's a dialogue. Let me know if there's something you'd like to see, and the questions you have.
Let's create something beautiful and real together!