you can't eat money

my garden defies capitalism. i didn't purchase a single vegetable this year. i was gifted several tomato plants, some onion starts, broccoli seedlings, and a packet of basil seeds. everything else in my little circle garden is volunteer. a friend of mine had never heard this term, which i thought was common knowledge since i've been around farming my whole life. what it means is that the plant was NOT "intentionally planted." a bird may have come along after eating a seed from another garden and pooped it out in just the right spot and it took hold in my backyard soil. or more likely it was my heaping compost pile, rich in vegetables in various states of decay, was spread over the garden in the spring and those determined little seeds decided to sprout. simply, this is nature doing its job.

matt likes to point out my communist tendencies. my garden is no exception.

there are several varieties of tomatoes, i won't know exactly which kind until they ripen. the hopi red dye amaranth, and dill are prolific volunteers this year. there is summer squash and peppers and even petunias (i have no idea where they would have come from). it's lush and vibrant and colorful. and all purely accidental.

i love the wildness that exists here among the carefully manicured lawns all around me. i watch my neighbor and his never ending battle with creeping charlie (that is another post all together my friends). and i think 'what if we spent more time trying to cultivate things to grow, rather than trying to kill them?'

i ponder these things as i read "animal, vegetable, miracle" by barbara kingsolver. a book that is changing my life. i'm in the part where they are talking about seeds. and genetically modified seeds. and how Monsanto spends millions of dollars each year to prosecute seed savers (those farmers that intentionally or unitentionally try to save seeds from this crop to plant next year). those communistis! don't they know this is america, home of the capitalist regime? one farmer was sued for everything he had because they found "their" seeds in his field. as if you could patent a seed!

but they can and they do. and since monsanto has taken over the majority of all seeds sales in the US, the variety of vegetables available has dropped from 18,000 varieties to 600 in 20 years. there are actually extinct and endangered seeds.

but who cares about heirloom tomatoes when all you need to make most of what america eats is some corn? i for one do. i don't want a dried out, tasteless tomato that has traveled over 1,500 miles in a gas-gusling semi when i have savored the warm succulent purple-hued flesh of a brandywine fresh off the vine. no. i care about seeds. and luckily so do people like the folks at seedsavers and CSA farms.

now, i'm not perfect. i would like to say i only eat locally grown food. but the reality is, i don't. the past 4 years since working at Valley Creek Farm i've learned more than i ever knew about food systems and the social, economic and political nature of our food chain. and it's enough to know that people, we need to wake up!

how long it will take before we realize that we can't eat money?


we've been super busy preparing for our first furniture show and sale this weekend.

we are totally flying by the seat of our pants. which is pretty much par for the course with us and the business. i can't believe just 5 years ago we jumped into this endeavor called eastvold custom woodworks. just me and matt in a basement shop in northeast minneapolis. i still remember the smell of that old shop. the old cargo elevator. staining and varnishing in the weedy side lot as local drunks bicycled by. and of course the occasional cabinet getting rained on! and sometimes i'd stop at the gas station and pick up junk food and bring it back to the shop and we'd tailgate on the back of matt's dad's old red pickup out front in the summer heat.

...ahh...the good ol days.

what we lacked in knowledge about running a business, design, and even building we made up for in sheer hard work. matt's been non-stop since 2003. and most of the time i was right there with him. i'll never forget being 8 months pregnant and on the jobsite laying on my side screwing toekick on. the homeowners would be home from vaction and it had to be done. finally at midnight i told him i had to go home. it was NOT the first all-nighter he had planned. nor was it the last.

we still work hard, but things have changed. now there is a shiny new red pick up. a cargo van instead of the cargo elevator. a brand new shop. 8 employees. employee health insurance plans. and of course matt is still non-stop.

but we haven't done it alone. no ma'am. none of this would be possible without our wonderful community of family and friends. a huge thanks to those that have made this possible (tia and souliyahn for introducing us to dave brach, martha, scott and connie, and who could forget the early days with Layo and kevin that first summer. and of course our pals luke and mull always willing to pitch in and who are STILL willing to pitch in, in a pinch. and jake for his never ending web and postcard designs, paige for taking photos, spengler for his ideas and of course "our amazing crew" joram, ben, kai, matt h., kasey, anthony, doug and doug...and everyone else who has been with us along the way!)

so please, please come to the show. it will be lots of fun. mingling. wine. friends. and lots of stuff to see.

and at the end of it all, we'll come home and collapse on our beautiful bed. built with our own hard-working hands. together. and that makes it all worth it.