I started Back Yard to Table in 2016 as a project to help address food insecurity in the Hudson Valley. Approximately 9% of Dutchess County households and 10% of those in Ulster County are considered food insecure. That figure shoots up to 30% in Poughkeepsie! I’ve been a back yard gardener for over 20 years and am always amazed at how much a small plot can produce. Edible gardens come in all shapes, sizes and degrees of difficulty. There are so many ways to overcome poor soil and cramped space. Raised beds make gardening accessible to those with mobility issues and there are all sorts of plants that require precious little maintenance—ideal for those of us pressed for time. There are even ways to grow in shady conditions. Plants want to grow, we just have to give them the opportunity. When we do, they pay us back tenfold. In addition to increasing food security and self-reliance? Gardening is a highly therapeutic activity which nurtures our sacred connection with the earth.
At Backyard to Table we promote simple growing techniques that enable anyone anywhere to grow their own food. We now have a volunteer base of over 200 for whom I am very grateful.