Ok… Where to start? How to begin this story?
It was 3 or 4 years ago when I found out about an opportunity at work called a “Self Fund Leave”. It is not a new or progressive idea and many professionals take advantage of this kind of program, most notably teachers who spread 9 months of salary over a full year. My leave is kind of the same… I am stretching 3½ years of salary over 4 years. My 6 month leave starts June 1, 2013.
When I decided to take a leave of absence I had no idea what I wanted to do with this time. Actually, to be honest I totally knew what I what to do! I wanted to sit on a beach in in France and I wanted to eat at Ben Shewry’s restaurant Attica in Australia.
But alas that was not going to happen.
Plan B… I live in this beautiful house with my wonderful husband and in the summer I keep a garden. It is small, but it is mine. Each year it grows bigger and better. I remember that gardening has been a part of my life since I was a child… helping out with a very small root garden in my mother Agatha’s backyard (which only lasted a few years) and I also remember the summers I worked at Mt. Scio Farm, St. John’s, Newfoundland while I was in university.
Most recently I noticed that gardening is a very peaceful activity. It is similar to the feeling that I get when I run… gardening is when I can reflect on my thoughts and relax… get some fresh air… not sure why or how, but it is peaceful thing to do. It is also really rewarding to watch something beautiful grow and know that I had some part in it.
And then last year I had the pleasure of meeting Ben Shewry while he was in Toronto. We had a chance to chat about what he is doing in his garden. Later I would read and hear stories about how he ripped up the parking lot, which served his restaurant, and transformed it in to a garden. His work inspired me. It is kind of odd… one would think that Ben Shewry would inspire a person to cook, but not me… Ben Shewry inspired me to garden.
So… add up all of these things… throw in some stuff I don’t remember, yet… add in Jason’s love, support, and encouragement, and you get a 6 month farming mission / R&D project called Penny Grows.