Meet Claudia from Georgia, United States

“I am a lover of food and the role it plays in over all health. I am a registered dietitian by trade so the entire process of growing, harvesting, and preparing food is fascinating to me. Gardening is a great way from me to practice my profession through the entire food system.

I grew up in a very large family of 10 and in an effort to provide food and live sustainably my dad grew most of the food we ate. When I grew up to be an adult, i planted a kitchen garden each place that I lived. After I had my second child I developed postpartum depression and gardening was the main thing that helped me heal.

Gardening is my therapy. It is an outlet for my stress and it helps my mood and helps me think. Additionally I enjoy knowing that the food I’m eating is grown without harmful chemicals and is as natural and healthful as possible.

I live in United States in Georgia about an hour from Atlanta. Our orchard is about 1.5 acres with over 70 fruit tree, over 100 black berry bushes, and lots of blueberries, raspberries and grapes. I also have a 2400 square feet kitchen garden where I grow some of everything. I grow traditional squash, beans, cucumbers, tomatoes and foods from Jamaica where I was born like eddoes, cassava, pigeon peas and chayote squash.

I try to plant ahead of the pest reproductive cycle, use trap crops and amend my soil with composted manure and compost helps with soil health and pest control. I also mulch mulch mulch which breaks down into quality soil.

One of the biggest hurdle is money to expand and purchase equipment and plants for the homestead. Another hurdle is time. There just never seems to be enough time. The biggest reward is the abundance healthy food that we produce on the homestead to provide good nutrition to nourish our bodies.

I started the share the mic garden edition #sharethemicgardeningedition movement on Instagram aimed at diversifying the feed of gardeners on Instagram. I have had majority of positive experience and people offering to participate. Additionally we are in talks with a few local farmers who want to start a local farmer’s market where one component would be me offering classes on the veggies sold there and how to use them.

Start where you are. As an example, I know someone who gardens on her windowsill in New York and she successfully grows a variety of foods. You can accomplish a lot in a small space or in containers.”