A year later: garlic independence

It has been a while since I have written here. I didn’t realize how long, but from the date on my last post it looks like over a year! Life gets busy.

Dietary simplicity/complexity

After all my posts documenting my switch to a plant-based diet I did stick to it for about a year. After a while though I did notice a loss of energy, which was probably due to iron loss.  And, although it is possible to eat a healthy plant only diet (from what I understand from my research) this is not so easy when you are a busy full-time working parent/professional. It is also quite difficult if you don’t want to be dependent on daily  supplements (B12, Omega 3 oils, iron, calcium etc). I’ll admit also to being weak and having a constant craving for pizza.

I have slowly adapted my diet to a mostly pescatarian one with very small amounts of dairy. I am also far more flexible when at other people’s homes and when traveling as I found that my strict and unusual diet was making everyone anxious and driving my partner and son a little scratch that…a lot crazy.


Overall, I still eat a mostly plant-based Mediterranean styled diet when I have the choice.  I focus my cooking, shopping and eating out on local, organic, oceanwise, sustainably farmed and ethically raised foods (read Micheal Pollan and Dan Barber friendly sans the pork and beef). I am not “perfect” and I know there will be many vegans out there that scoff at the back sliding, but overall I feel better. And, strangely enough, because my partner and son are not eating completely separate meals now, we are eating less meat as a whole household (as soon as I went vegan my partner saw it as a free for all on meat eating since I was no longer the barrier!).

garlic independence

We harvested our garlic yesterday and today we hung it up to dry. It was our first urban harvest of garlic and we were pretty proud of ourselves. We got the starter bulbs from my father in law Paul (an avid and seasoned vegetable gardener) and planted them with an excitement usually found only in children at amusement parks. Sharing the garlic harvest with our five year old was the greatest joy. He knows what garlic looks like, where it comes from, and soon he’ll taste fresh organic garlic grown in his own teeny tiny front walk up.

When I first met my partner Dylan he told me an old saying that I’ll likely get wrong here…something along the lines of 100 pennies add up to a dollar or something similar. The point being that each individual thing (however small) adds up to something bigger. I am learning that it isn’t the grand gestures or the big dreams that really make the difference, but instead it is the the small practical actions that people take that add up and make the bigger and more sustainable difference.

We joke about being “garlic independent” now and with great fanfare shared our garlic with neighbours. All joking aside though we may just have enough to last us the year from our little crop and the very act of growing our small crop of garlic gives us so much joy. It feels like such a tangible thing we can do to help build a better world and it does feel like a very simple act of rebellion against the corporate, global, and low quality monoculture garlic we find at the store.

Just growing garlic won’t make the difference. Just like shopping weekly at our local farmers market won’t make the difference. Neither will buying most of our clothes second hand make the difference. What makes the difference is that we are being the change we wish to see (as cheesy as that saying has become) and we are speaking louder with our actions than our words. Our son is growing up and learning from those actions.

Our friends up the street also harvested garlic from their tiny urban garden and their two daughters will also grow up thinking it is perfectly normal to grow a crop of garlic in a suburban townhouse backyard. We are changing our culture with every action we take. It feels good even if it smells a little garlicky!

IMG_4156In the background you can see the heirloom potatoes we got from Westcoast Seeds (not an endorsement) that are nearly ready for harvest. I’ll post about that shortly.

We are not nearly perfect and I write this after returning from a ten day vacation in California. No judgement or righteousness here. But, we keep plugging away at the little things that add up and overall our life reflects our values far more today than it did when I started this online journal (or whatever we are supposed to call them these days)!



2 thoughts on “A year later: garlic independence

  1. Congrats! I harvested my first garlic this year. If I had known garlic was this easy to grow I would have planted more than just a few cloves. For next year, will definitely use “garlic independence” as my target. 🙂

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