HOW I GOT TO BE GREEN
So I initially got interested in growing my own green food when I was a teenager. My family has always been kind of hippie, my mom always made sure to expose us to different lifestyles, even though we lived in one of the most crowded cities in the US or maybe the world.
So she got creative, we were middle class if that thing even exists in NYC, but she got creative about growing tomatoes in the living room.
Sounds chaotic? It was.
I’m sure the tomatoes were fine but space was an issue. Tomatoes need sun to thrive but we didn’t have a balcony to give our plants a permanent place so the solution was to move the tomato container every day.
During the day, the container would be by my window in my room (the sunny one) and then at night, we’d bring the container back into the living room.
As you can imagine this was not the most ideal situation where you have to move stuff around your house every day but it taught us a lot about plants, food and how not to kill each other over space.
We grew up growing anything that could grow in our tiny living room, from tomatoes, to garlic plants and herbs and everything in between. Not only this stilled in my a sense of independence from the big (or small) grocery stores but also I got a taste of being self-sufficient and able to give back to the community.
As a teen I played with the idea of building my own greenhouse, not in a tiny apartment but in a place that would allow me to actually give back to my community, learn and grow.
This couldn’t be in NYC for obvious reasons but somewhere in rural US.
My family, especially my mom was supportive of this idea, they worried about everything at the time because back then growing your own food wasn’t a safe way to pay for your mortgage and still it isn’t but they were excited about my potential contribution to society.
What followed was courses on how to grow your own food. I discovered the Ecologist.org and pretty much devoured their content. I poured myself into learning anything about food, for me it was a challenge and I took it as such.
After graduating high school it was obvious that I needed to leave NYC if I was serious about pursuing my green goals. I contacted a few organizations in Central America like Family Freedom project and a few others and with the money I had saved from my babysitting gigs while in HS bought my ticket to Central America. Right now we have a Hydroponics project in place.
It’s exciting but I miss home. This Thanksgiving I’ll stay here. It has taken me awhile to assimilate the culture. My Spanish is improving, I can understand conversations now as long as they’re not speaking too fast but still, for example, the Latino doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving and that gets me.
My family came to visit me this Summer, so that was nice. They were shocked to see how affordable things are here, especially where I live, the jungle.