Three years ago I decided I wanted an herb garden. Then I gave up when the darn things died because I never remembered to water them.

A few months later, right before the holidays, I read Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle – I don’t remember if it caught my eye at the library or I read about it somewhere – and I found my calling. I despaired that it was the middle of winter and I had to wait MONTHS before planting my own vegetable garden.

The book is about one year in Barbara’s family life where they choose to only eat locally: either they grow it, they buy it from local sources like farmers’ markets or farmer friends, or they do without it. Her narrative is so straight-forward and natural it feels like she’s talking to you across the dining room table while you both sip some (sweet) tea. The book includes sidebars by her husband and essays by her daughter, and many great recipes.

This is my third year of growing veggies and I love it more and more each year. except the weeding. Weeding sucks, let me tell ya, although I am impressed at the resilience of those little suckers. This year, I have a water-bath canner and a food dehydrator for my veggies and fruits; I look forward to using them both, a lot.

Don’t be daunted – Barbara has years of experience growing things and I certainly didn’t. I have a backyard, she has LAND. It doesn’t matter. You can grow delicious tomatoes in a container, herbs on your windowsill, it just takes the impulse to say: I’m doing it. And for that, I thank Barbara. Maybe someday I will meet her and say it in person.

Has there been something that inspired you to make a change or start a venture?