The best way to start learning to grow your own food is by looking at the way mother nature is doing it. Animals and people have lived on this planet for a very long time. Whether learning to live off the land or harnessing natural behaviors to produce favorable crops fit for human consumption, people have always relied on natural systems. In this era of technology and virtual interaction, it can be easy to forget where our food comes from.
I was first struck with the realization that nature and people have to work together when I began to observe the specialized ecosystem thriving within the vineyards of California. At the time, I was working for a large winery checking fruit sugar levels and helping with some research projects. I began to see grape trellis systems as the embodiment of human ingenuity coupled with nature's ability to adapt. I was seeing irrigation lines as the pulse of a this seldom noticed ecosystem. From mosses and molds up to humans and coyotes, it all just fit together seamlessly. Everything was planned out by an engineer and then came together in order to provide food, shelter, and the opportunity for reproduction.
The idea of harnessing all of that productivity in a way that mirrors nature but primarily provides for human needs was a revelation to my Midwestern row crop oriented brain. I knew then that creating sustainable and cohesive food crop systems was going to be a passion of mine. I want to continue learning from nature and sharing with others along the way. I hope to plant the seeds of forward thinking, ecosystem friendly land management practices wherever I go.