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13 October, 2011

I Went Back to the Land to Feed My Family

I Went Back to the Land to Feed My Family - NYTimes.com: "I’M not interested in being hip or a hippie. Nor does my happiness particularly hinge on artisanal cheese. (Odd, perhaps, given that I grew up a stone fruit’s throw away from Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif.)

As a 42-year-old Brooklyn mother of three, what I care about is lunch, and feeding my family on a tenuous and unpredictable income. And so I have 20 fresh-egg-producing hens and a little garden that yields everything from blackberries to butternut squash to burdock root.

My turn with spade and hoe started a few years ago when I found myself divorced and flat broke. My livelihood as a freelance writer went out the window when the economy tanked. I literally could afford beans, the dried kind, which I’d thought were for school art projects or teaching elementary math. And I didn’t know how to cook.

Luckily, my late father had hammered into me that grit was more important than talent. So, when I couldn’t afford fancy food — never mind paraben-free shampoo — for my babies, I figured, if peasants in 11th-century Sicily did all this, how hard could it be?..."

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