Meet Jessica from Michigan, United States

“I was always fascinated with gardens as I was growing up. I believe I was about 10 when we had our first tomato plants. It was my job to water them. I won’t ever forget my first taste of a freshly picked, vine ripened tomato. There were a few other times we planted small gardens but we never really harvested that much, it was more of a hobby.

As I became an adult, I became fascinated with health & nutrition. When I studied just Nutrition, I learned all about the process in which our food is grown, preserved, etc. I learned about the importance of non-GMO food & preferably organic. Now that I’m studying to be a naturopathic doctor, I have learned even more about the importance of our food & how it affects our overall health & wellbeing.

My husband and I moved to Virginia for 5 years to follow his career in the Navy & every year I planted a garden. We had 2 years that we had a decent harvest. Every night we feasted on green beans & cabbage. One year I had a huge sweet potato harvest.. we ate sweet potatoes for months. We were spread thin for money at the time, my small business wasn’t doing too well (thankful that turned around!) and we had a lot of debt. Being able to feed my husband, our son, and myself mostly from the garden was a huge blessing.

When my husband fulfilled his time in the navy, we moved back to Michigan and purchased our forever home. We set to work quickly with a garden.. the first year over 70% of it was taken by rabbits. This year we got smarter. I wanted to secure our food supply, after all we have 2 small children & I was concerned about not just the supply of food but the price in the grocery stores as COVID spread.

This year I’ve had the best harvest I’ve ever had. I grew cucumbers, sage, spearmint, peppermint, green beans, carrots, beets, potatoes, zucchini, collard greens, hungarian hot peppers, bell pepper, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, tomatoes, and strawberries. Some plants weren’t successful this year but we learned more. We ate from the garden and I have also been able to harvest & preserve about 80% of it. We’ve fed our neighbors & family members too. We even have some vegetable plants for Autumn garden such as squash, more beets, and Brussels sprouts.

My goal is to be self sufficient in at least our vegetables & fruits. This year, I canned enough vegetables for us to have something every day for 3 months (from my garden) & I still have more canning to do. I also supported a local farm to help supplement where my garden lacked this year.

Next year we will plant more potatoes, some fruit trees, and more beans. My kids watched me sow seeds into the ground & have been very much a part of the process of growing, harvesting, and preserving our food. It’s empowering & I love sharing it with others!”