“Food, a French man told me once, is the first wealth. Grow it right, and you feel insanely rich, no matter what you own.” -Kristin Kimball
We have plenty of money. We have what we need. We are so filthy rich that there are people that want to kill us simply because we are filthy rich Americans.
...but sometimes I don't feel rich. especially when I spend too much time on pinterest, or on Houzz, or flipping through the inspiration pages of House Beautiful. I feel poor. I can't afford that rug, or that table, or even that lamp. It is all out of my reach. ...and perhaps I could save up the money and scrimp on groceries and eventually buy one of those beautiful hooks from Restoration Hardware, but do I really want to? No, probably not, but it would be nice...
Oh C'MON Amy, the garden isn't going to get me that new handbag! There is no way a little walk through the garden will make me forget about that beautiful carpet and the 3 INCH THICK padding that I want but can't afford! A garden will do nothing!
Well maybe not...it depends on whether your garden is growing food, or just flowers. If you only have flowers you might have a problem. As nice as they are, you can't eat them. They smell nice, and look nice, and I am ALL for a lovely walk through the garden at dusk, but they aren't going to help your consumerism problem the way a good batch of lettuce and giant stand of onions will.
You see, food is the first wealth. Battles were fought over food sources, rivers and salt mines. We need food to survive, and we need good food to feel rich. I can grow both in my backyard. I have soil, I have sun, I have seeds and I have water. Thus, I am rich.
This is the way it works...you feel bitter that you couldn't get that faucet that you really wanted for the kitchen because it was too gosh darn expensive. Nevermind the hot tub you wanted for the back porch...so you go walking in the garden. You get out the scissors and start snipping. A little spinach here, a few mustard greens, ooo! Are those strawberries hiding under those leaves? Perfect -- I just picked myself a smoothie. Brilliant!
Of course I can't grow ice, but wait! I have a big 'ol refrigerator and in the freezer is a giant tub of automatically made, precut ice. Brilliant!
Of course I can't break up the ice...I'll just have no make a salad and ice water. But wait! I've got a big, powerful blender sitting on the counter...smoothie here I come!
This is all in your head of course...you still have work to do...
You lay down your bounty of smoothie supplies and you check out the rest of the garden. Oh my heavens, that onion is up to my NECK! I am not even kidding -- how DID that thing grow so high?! ...and oh my heavens there are 49 of them...all growing tall and huge and we are not going to need to buy onions ever again.
I'm rich in onions and potatoes and tomatoes and strawberries and rhubarb and asparagus and spinach and mustard and leeks and garlic and swiss chard and radishes and oh look! The plum tree is starting to grow -- I can almost feel those little plums, plump and squat in my hands ripe for a big BITE. Oh and the chestnuts are growing!! Look at the hazelnuts! I am rich! I am rich! I am rich!
Hang my head in shame. Look around. Did anyone see that? Surely they must think I am crazy. No? No one saw me twirling in the middle of the garden and yelling about my riches like a happy fool? Well then...