... that's a question that I get asked time and time again. Why do I spend long hours planting seeds, weeding, tending, picking bugs and in the hottest part of the summer standing in front of the hot stove making preserves, stashing away dried and canned veggies. Why do I keep my freezer full to the brim when it's so much easier to walk to the store and just pick up anything you want at any given time? And my answer is simple - you won't understand unless you've been hungry. And I don't mean "I feel like noshing on something so maybe I'll have a snack" hungry. I mean hungry as in no food today or yesterday. As in your stomach is churning in pain hungry. I used to run another blog for few years and shut it down after a while because I conquered one of my mental demons - fear of debt. Debt that I inherited and was never my own, but in the end it was all paid off. One of the entries of the blog referred to my past so I'll copy it here to make it easier for you to understand:
I wish I could say that I don't know what it is to be poor and hungry but unfortunately I do. I grew up that way. At least we were that way when I was a young child and I remember it very vividly and so does my sister. My mother was sole provider for us and while she tried her best it was almost impossible to have a "good" life. She got paid $60 avans (pre-payment) in first half of the month and $120 (actual remaining salary) at the end of the month. That's considering that she was 5th ranking electrical engineer and was the top of her field at the time and very few men and women could get to that rank. She used to fix electronic machines on the factory and was very much valued. But her salary was just not enough to pay for basics no matter how she tried. Usually every couple of days before she would get paid she'd run out of money. I remember coming home one day and looking in to the fridge for food - there was nothing there. Not just not something I wanted but completely empty. Later that evening mom brought an onion and one head of cabbage and she made stewed cabbage - something I really hated and wouldn't have eaten normally. I waited out until the following day when I was so hungry that even stewed cabbage smelled pretty good, and when mom walked in on me sitting alone in the kitchen and eating it I told her that "hunger will make you eat anything". She remembered those words for the rest of her life and so will I. I remember being awake at night from hunger and having my sister share her portion of a bread so I could go to sleep. I could go on with such examples but it would probably bore everyone else so I'll stop.
This is why I garden. This is why my pantry is overflowing and why I have at least 6 month of food stored - so I can be prepared. I grew up with one too many "hungry" moments, some due to the political environment and some due to nature like severe floods or droughts that would prevent us from harvesting enough for the rest of the year. So I garden. And I forage in the forest. And I stash flour, salt, sugar, rice and pasta. It's been a long time since we moved to the states - will be 20 yrs in December. But in my head I'm still hungry. That's why the moment anyone comes into my house I will ask "do you want something to eat and drink" - because in my head everyone is hungry. Always. But my garden is also a way of relaxation for me and a way to turn off my mind and focus on positive - all those gorgeous greens and ripe fruit and veggies that I get to pick and hold in my hands. I don't want to eat them necessarily. I just want to have them in the house. At all times. And to share with anyone else.