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Grown & Gathered: An Interview on Traditional Living Made Modern

Words by
March 07, 2017
How long have you been on your farm? How long have you been doing Grown & Gathered?
We've been back on the farm for the last five or six years now but I grew up with this land in my family so I feel like I've been here forever. It is a very old winery that was first planted in 1860, and it's a huge piece of land—3000 acres! But we just look after our little six acres of paradise in the middle of it. We started Grown & Gathered as a business three years ago when we got tired of only dealing with chefs and florists when it came to selling our produce and wanted to create a direct relationship with people instead. It's all kinda snowballed since then!

How has your relationship with plants and nature changed over the years?
I think everyone is on their own journey with nature from the moment they are born. We are all nature too after all. But for sure in the last few years we have become so much more attuned to the environment around us—to the seasonal shifts and the day-to-day nuances. Probably the biggest thing this has affected us is the way we eat. We now eat mainly plants and most of them come straight from our garden or from the wild around us. And they are always changing. You can't eat the same things all year—that would get so boring! We really feel winter and we really feel summer. We are always embedded in whatever moment is happening in the garden. And there is always a plant to tend to no matter what time of year. So we never stop learning from nature and our relationship with it grows deeper every day.

Grown & Gathered
photo © Grown & Gathered
What inspired you to put your blog into book form?
We had always had the thought of a book in the back of our mind but our lovely publishers are the ones who put the idea to us in the end and it all just grew from there. It was such a wonderful and intense experience and so rewarding. We feel super lucky to be able to share the things we've learned with everyone!

We really want to empower people to connect with nature by growing their own plants.
What's your favorite section of the book?
That's an impossible question to answer! I am particularly excited to have our growing techniques documented in such a detailed way. To be able to share that with everyone is an amazing thing. We really want to empower people to connect with nature by growing their own plants. But truly, there isn't a single page in there that we chose lightly. There was a lot of extra stuff that didn't make the cut.

How is your book important for city dwellers?
We think this book applies to everyone. It's for all people, no matter who they are or where they live. We want to see people in cities growing things, connecting where their food (and everything else) comes from, and we want to see people cooking from scratch like their grandparents used to. It's not about where you live. We're all humans and we all have a relationship with nature to develop.

Grown & Gathered
photo © Grown & Gathered
Why is it important that we update traditional techniques for modern life?
Modern life is not like traditional life. These days we are all so busy. We are running around doing a million things and we don't leave ourselves any time for the important things like friends and family and great, real food. So the biggest thing for us was to simplify all of these traditional techniques to allow people to fit them into their modern lives.

Because we know that the more you try these things, the more time you want to spend doing them. And so you do more of the good stuff. You slow down more and you live better and that's great! Sometimes people are overwhelmed by the traditional stuff. We were too. But once we learned how to do it all we realised how simple it all really is. And bringing these simple, traditional elements back into your life is so much more rewarding than the modern alternatives like supermarkets and fast food and just watching people cooking on TV!

What message do you hope to share with the release of the Grown & Gathered book?
That life is still good! And the good life is so simple! We think if everyone just started to bring some of these traditional elements into their lives their worlds would be all the better for it—and the world would be all the better for it too.

Grown & Gathered
photo © Grown & Gathered
Starting to live more sustainably is about slowing down and making conscious choices about where you buy the things you buy and what you do with the waste. We can all make choices that make the world a healthier place.
What advice do you have for urban dwellers wanting to practice more sustainable living, but who don't have access to land/outdoor space?
Everyone can grow something. Even if it's just a pot of herbs. But just because you can't grow all of your own food (and really, who can?) that doesn't mean you can't live sustainably. We don't think everyone should be farmers, but take the time to get to know yours. Shop at farmers markets, buy local, well-grown produce and compost your kitchen scraps. Starting to live more sustainably is about slowing down and making conscious choices about where you buy the things you buy and what you do with the waste. We can all make choices that make the world a healthier place.

What are you working on next?
Nothing! We are taking time to reflect on the last few hectic years and getting back to basics. Going forward we want to continue to educate and inspire. But exactly what shape that takes, we're just leaving that open. For now, we are super proud of the book and feel so lucky to see it out there making an impact, and we're just content to sit and watch and let that settle in.

Grown & Gathered
photo © Grown & Gathered