Jeff Sirlin has purpose, staying alive for his family.  However his purpose extends to all of us.

Why are cancer rates so high?  Treatment is the end game.  For Jeff, sharing with us is the pregame challenge to keeping us all healthy.  Some of us have cancer; some have cancer cells in our bodies which are not being expressed right now while others are cancer free but vulnerable.  We are all exposed in an age of pesticides, herbicides, preservatives and GMOs.

         Just yesterday I shopped at Trader Joes.  I bought some ingredients for a salad.  Trader Joes limits selection of many items and I didn’t see the customary stack of cucumbers on the display.  A friendly employee pointed to some English cucumbers that were wrapped in plastic.  I usually inspect vegetables carefully but didn’t do it this time; the wrapped vegetable was just a bit of a foreign experience for me.  When I got to the cash register with the cucumber, tomatoes and a small pepper, the smiling young woman at the cash register informed me that the cucumber was a little soft at the end and she said she would send someone to find me a better one.  She rang a bell and another enthusiastic employee came running to get the soft cucumber and quickly replaced it with a firm one.  I said to myself, I like this place.  It occurs to me that employees like working at a store that has you and me in mind and not merely providing big profits for CEO’s bonuses and for stockholders.

         At this time of the year I grow lettuce in very small greenhouse so that the lettuce part of the salad was grown at home.  However I want to focus in on the pepper that I purchased.  I picked a small one. Peppers sold for 79 cents each.  My wife says that peppers bought at this time of the year don’t even smell like peppers.  The one I bought did, and it was delicious in the salad.  Across the street at Stop and Shop the peppers are gigantic.  They sell them by the pound.  Take a few seconds and smell the peppers at the big grocery stores.  Find one of those big ones.  Smell it.  Why do you think they sell them by the pound?  What makes those peppers so big?

I compost and grow organically.  I take good care of my plants.  I am reluctant to use chemical fertilizer, and maybe to a fault don’t use them at all.  My peppers don’t grow very big like those at the chain super markets.  What do you think?

I also picked some parsley out of the greenhouse last night for the shrimp scampi that my wife was cooking for dinner.  When I walked into the kitchen my wife commented on the smell from the parsley.  It wasn’t necessary to bring the parsley to our noses to try to get the flavor.  The parsley was a tasty accent to a great dish.

One thing is for sure, Jeff Sirlin has purpose in his life.  He blogs interesting articles and has almost 3000 people following him.  His blogs are full of great recipes and ideas.  As he blogs he affirms his commitment to staying cancer free while he inspires the rest of us.

We all need purpose but may not have the time or skills to do what he does.  For me as a former biology and horticulture teacher, I would like to share a way for people in urban settings and beyond to raise their own food One Square Foot at a Time.  It is easy to do if you are open to using practices that I and many others have found to be proven.  You can read about it in Mel Bartholmew’s book Square Foot Gardening.  I have learned that I like the food that I grow and the exercise can be enjoyed through gardening instead of at a gym on a treadmill.

For information on Square Foot Gardening I’d be willing to help with your set up.  I can actually post instructions so that many others will be able to follow along.  However if you want me to do an assessment of your location and set up your garden I will do that in the spring for less money than you can buy the materials.

It is important that those who read this share the information.  Poor health will get the best of us down.  There is hope.  We can grow this culture and provide an avenue for good health.Image

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