Welcome to the inaugural post of my blog, You Should Be Gardening! This blog will center around my experiences as an urban gardener (I prefer the term gentleman farmer) growing food at my home in Los Angeles in the Crestview neighborhood just north of Culver City. But You Should Be Gardening will be much more than a gardening journal — it will also be home to my thoughts on the importance of gardening, environmentalism, the next stages of the organic/sustainable movement, food issues, and politics in general, along with movie reviews and whatever else strikes me as particularly interesting, funny, or shareworthy. This blog will also document the beginning of a very exciting project that I plan to put into motion in a few months, but I’ll save that for a future post.
And me? My name is Jonathan Kim. This is what I look like.
This pic is even more impressive if you know that I have a freakishly large head
I’ve worked as a copywriter/hand model, a ranch hand, a waiter, an instructor, a video producer/activist, and a movie critic (which I still do now). I was never interested in gardening at all growing up, and even though I had access to a large garden and appreciated its bounty when I worked as a ranch hand in Santa Barbara County from 2003 to 2007, I was very much a spectator and not a participant. But living on the ranch sparked my interest in gardening, and after hearing Michael Pollan speak at UC Berkeley and reading his 2006 book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, I finally — at the age of 30 — started thinking about where my food came from. I decided that I would look for every opportunity to grow my own food.
But it wasn’t until early 2013, two years after I moved in to a lovely Steinkamp home, that I began the process of starting my own garden, from the ground up. This is what my yard looked like in March of 2013. Part of this blog will be taking you back in time as I turned my backyard from this…
Into this by April 2014…
It was during this process — with a goal of using only found/discarded materials scavenged from construction sites and on the streets of my neighborhood — that I realized that gardening seemed to encompass nearly all of my interests and virtually everything I care about. Gardening is somehow able to combine health, anti-corporatism, anti-consumerism, food politics, independent living, philosophy, woodworking, conservation, nature, science, global warming, history, and my belief that most of our environmental issues can be solved with existing practices instead of pinning our hopes on future technologies. Gardening teaches me about humility, gratitude, abundance, interconnectedness, and generosity in an activity that I also find deeply calming, meditative, and therapeutic. At the same time, gardening provides me with the healthiest fresh food around through a practice that I find endlessly fascinating, where there is always room for improvement even though perfection will always remain unattainable.
That’s why I firmly believe that you should be gardening, in whatever form you have available to you. It may be too important not to — not just for yourself, but for your family, your community, your country, and your planet. It will not only change the way you look at the world, but also how you look at yourself.
I hope You Should Be Gardening gives you a look into how I view gardening and all the issues that surround and link to it, and that it maybe gives you some ideas. Or, at the very least, you just get a kick out of it. I plan to keep things pretty lively at You Should Be Gardening, so please continue to check in or get updates via your preferred method by following YSBG on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.
Thanks for reading,