Safe Spaces: My Garden

Last week I was interviewed about my garden. Well, the interview was about using SNAP benefits, previously known as food stamps, for purchasing food-bearing seeds and plants. That is something I’ve been doing since my children were small.

I’ve had a hobby garden on and off since I was a young parent. My favorite way to populate my gardens have been to purchase seedlings at grocery stores or farmers markets that take SNAP benefits. Last year I continued that tradition by building a decent sized patio garden with the help of GRuB and my SNAP benefits used at the Olympia Farmers Market.

The “Market Match” program helped me to double $40 dollars at each one of my weekly visits to the farmer’s market. Virtually making it so that every dollar I spent on food I could eat now, I was spending that same dollar on plants that would produce food I could eat LATER! And the bonus benefit is that gardening is one of my special interests.

I didn’t understand until almost exactly a year ago that I’m autistic. With that information it makes sense that certain things bring me a considerable amount of pleasure. Gardening also helps me manage another one of the bonuses gifted to me by autism: The eating disorder ARFID (Avoidant-restrictive food intake disorder).

ARFID is an odd eating disorder because it is characterized not by body dismorphia, but instead by an inability to tolerate the textures, tastes and other qualities of many different foods and our diets become sometimes perilously restricted. Another action that leads to limiting diets with ARFID is just the avoidance of food due to disinterest.

It sounds odd, but for me and many others who deal with ARFID, sometimes food is just more trouble than it seems like it is worth.

One of the ways I manage to feel like both my food and my body have worth is to spend time in concert with my Creator to create my own food in my little garden.

I’ve been trying to grow a little more every year.

Last year a tragedy turned to a bounty when my viral tears about my garden garnered enough attention to give me the boost I needed to stand up for myself. I used the same videos with rats ruining my garden that had brought me to tears, to also report the situation to the landlords and city, pressuring to hire exterminators.

Once the extermination had commenced, my tomatoes grew back with abundance and I had already seeds saved from those fruits damaged by the rodents.

This year as I’m prepping my garden I’m also getting ready to plant seeds saved from last years garden. Something I had failed to do in years past, but did early in the season due to the rats.

So many tomatoes and potatoes and lettuce seeds saved from plants and fruits and vegetables that were grown last year. My tomatoes from seedlings bought at the Farmers Market, with matching bucks I also used to by clams eaten last year.

Seed potatoes saved from the last harvest last fall, ready to go in the ground. But their beginnings had come in potatoes given to me in a food box from a church. I’ll be eating the third generations this year.

Victory gardens do not just create food for our bodies, but they also create nourishment for our souls. I can’t count the hours spent in the sun talking to my plants and God while caring for plants producing my food. Hours well spent in the care of my soul.

3 Comments

  1. I too suffer from arfid, and will soon have a new caregiver, I have my pots from 2 years ago was I was able to care for my plants. I’m looking forward to trying again this year

    Liked by 2 people

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