This is the first post in a series of guest posts for Local Food Week. Today’s post was written by Rebecca Subbiah, RDN. Rebecca is a fellow dietitian from the UK who lives in the US. She recently started her own farm, Ladybird Farm, giving her a special perspective on food as both a dietitian and farmer. For more from Rebecca, you can check-out her website Rebecca Subbiah, RDN, which has a link to her own blog Chow and Chatter; follow her on Twitter @chowandchatter or @ladybirdfarms.
YOU can make a difference
This post is to honor all the folks who make our world a little better and healthier often without media fanfare and behind the scenes. The hospital or outpatient dietitians we don’t see on social media helping folks heal and return to optimal health. The folks who volunteer in school gardens and PTA boards to get healthy food to kids and champion back pack programs for food insecure kids. The small farms that work for hours with sweat and tears often making very little to put nourishing food on our tables.
I am Rebecca, a registered dietitian from the UK who has lived in the US for the past 13 years. I have worked as a registered dietitian in a small hospital here and over the past 7 years I have done various things staying home with the kids. I have blogged, done radio shows and taught colleagues on social media, I also continue to work as a social media manager.
I started gardening a few years back when my Granddad passed away. He was an avid vegetable gardener and I wanted to keep his legacy alive. I also wanted our kids to grow up knowing where their food came and eating vegetables from the garden.
I completed the master gardener course a couple of years ago and started to volunteer in gardens, always having a heart for school gardens. Initially my daughter’s head teacher wasn’t keen on adding a vegetable garden so I decided just to weed and keep up the global garden at Clemmons Elementary, a pretty flower garden with scenes from around the world. I added a little edible landscaping. Through connections with the PTA and a new headteacher we got the go ahead for a raised bed vegetable garden and one of my daughters classmates Granddads built two small raised beds with the help of a donation from State farm insurance.
This was all done for under $300. I state this to encourage you to help in your area and show you that you really don’t need a large budget to get it going.
Over the last year I have planted seasonal vegetables and worked with a kindergarten and two second grade classes weeding the garden, learning about composting and harvesting the vegetables we grew. We even made garden smoothies and last week I managed to fill 20 little bags of salad greens to add to the backpack program for food insecure kids.
I encourage you to get involved in your local schools and communities. Sure, sometimes it will involve unpaid/volunteer work but YOU can make a difference.
At the beginning of this year, with the support of my husband, we purchased land to farm and I am now growing vegetables to sell. I love farming but it’s hard. One of the first things I am learning is it’s not just the growing of the vegetables, the cost of setup, and working with the weather, but how hard it is to sell them. Farming is a vital profession and one that should be supported especially with help and support for young often first generation farmers entering the field. As we have a crisis with most farmers in North America at retirement age. I feel as a dietitian it’s important to do farm tours and you don’t need to be media elite for these, simply call a local farm and ask to visit. Maybe volunteer on a farm, I would love dietitians and interns to visit ladybird farm.
Understanding agriculture and listening to many different farmers gives us insight into how food is grown, the difficulties and wonder of it, we should be part of the conversation. To touch and enrich the lives of the communities where we live and ensure good nutrition for all. Get involved in community groups, offer your expertise and care, together we can make a difference and make our corner of the World a little better.