In her recent book To Boldly Grow: Finding Joy, Adventure, and Dinner in Your Own Backyard, Tamar Haspel describes the pleasure she finds in producing her own food.
When Haspel moved from Manhattan to Cape Cod in 2009, she challenged herself to take a more active approach to her diet. She and her husband committed to eating at least one thing each day that they had produced.
“It turned out to be way more interesting and compelling than I ever thought it could be,” Haspel tells Food Tank, “because it sort of changed the way I thought about food. But also, and maybe more importantly, it kind of changed the way I thought about me.”
Over the course of the book, Haspel recounts her experiences raising poultry, foraging for mushrooms, hunting deer, fishing, and more. With each new project, Haspel says, she grew more confident in her abilities. “I found myself better armed and more willing to try the next thing.”
Each project also brought Haspel a new sense of accomplishment. “Feeding ourselves and our families gives a sense of satisfaction [that is] different from the satisfaction of the areas where we usually traffic [like] getting a promotion or selling a book, or these other sorts of achievements that we strive for in our lives,” Haspel says. “There’s something deep seated about it…and everybody who’s ever gotten food first hand feels it.”
And even as Haspel became more capable of producing her food, she explains that these projects only helped to emphasize the importance of her neighbors.
“Doing all of these things connected us to our community, it connected us to other people who were gardening, other people who are raising chickens, other people who are keeping bees,” Haspel tells Food Tank. She also joined a fishing club, gardening club, and served on the board of a local shellfishing organization.
Haspel now has more than a decade of experience acquiring her own food, and she hopes that other eaters will try to do the same in their own lives, on whatever scale they can.
“What I wish for is for more people to just give something like this a shot,” she tells Food Tank. “Start small, go on a mushroom hunt, get one of those hydroponic herb gardens, and then all of those folks who are doing those community gardens will have a different kind of resonance for you.”
Listen to the full conversation with Tamar Haspel on “Food Talk with Dani Nierenberg” to hear more about what happens when eaters are removed from the source of their meals, finding common ground over food, and Haspel’s new podcast, “Climavores.”
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Photo courtesy of Markus Spiske, Unsplash