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Linda CragoMy guest today is Linda Crago, owner of nine-acre Tree and Twig Heirloom Vegetable Farm in Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada. There she runs a Community Supported Agriculture program and grows heirloom varieties. We’ll be talking about the importance of heirloom foods and about buying organic food direct from a local farmer. Seventeen years ago, Linda quit her career as a social worker and began delivering baskets of organic vegetables to her former collegues who were interested in fresh produce. Without ever having heard of the “Community Supported Agriculture” concept, it was in fact what she was doing and her CSA was born. She now has two large hoophouses and a small one, all unheated, to extend her growing season to year-round and to “get my thousands of seedlings off to a roaring and robust start.” She also sells seed…”fabulous organic and heirloom seed, full of magic and possibility!” Her interest in heirlooms increases every year. Her seed comes from many sources around the world, she saves more and more seed herself and also shares her seed with others. Her most treasured business relationships are with those businesses, organizations and individuals who are selfless in their devotion to the cause of ensuring diversity by growing heirloom varieties and reoffering them. She is a lifetime member of Seed Savers Exchange and also a proud member of the rebel Kokopelli in France and Garden Organic. in England. Linda has organized the local Niagara Seedy Saturday for years, believing firmly that seed and gardening knowledge are to be shared. She is also entering into her eighth year as a test gardener for Rodale’s Organic Gardening magazine (her blog has some incredible garden info from very knowledgeable gardeners). In March 2009, Linda was awarded the Agriculture Enterprise Award at the Niagara Entrepreneur of the Year Award and in 2007, she received a regional Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence from the Province of Ontario.






Heirloom Foods & Community Supported Agriculture

Host: Debra Lynn Dadd
Guest: Linda Crago

Date of Broadcast: May 05, 2014

DEBRA: Hi, I’m Debra Lynn Dadd and this is Toxic Free Talk Radio where we talk about how to thrive in a toxic world and live toxic-free because there are lots of toxic chemicals out there. And so on this show, we talk about where those toxic chemicals are and what you can do to do something else so that you’re not being exposed to them.

We talk about how to remove them from your bodies, remove them from your homes, remove them from your business, remove them from your life and other more wonderful things that we can do to be happy, healthy and thrive in this world.

The other day, I was in a book store and I ran across the book called It Always Seems Impossible Until It’s Done. And it’s just a book about an inch thick and on each page, it has a quote that encourages. It’s very encouraging quotes for times when you’re doing something really big and you think, “I’m not going to make it. It’s not possible.” And these are just reminders that it is possible and we can do it.

And since making a transition from our current toxic world to living to a toxic-free world or even making the changes in our own lives or work or businesses or anything can sometimes seem like this is an impossible task, so I’m just going to be reading, each day or so, I’m going to just pick one out of the book. I’m just going to open at random.

And today’s quote is “Big goals get big results. No goals get no results or somebody else’s results.” Each of us need to have our own goal about living toxic-free.

Oh, the person who said that was Mark Victor Hansen who is a writer and speaker. So, each of us need to have our own goals to have our own lives be toxic-free. And as we do that, then each of us is contributing to the world being toxic-free.

Now, of course, we need to sometimes do things that look at the bigger picture. But to just start right in our own lives, being toxic-free and set some goals and you’ll be able to accomplish this.

My guest today, she had some big goals. Her name is Linda Crago. She’s the owner of the nine acre farm called Tree and Twig Heirloom Vegetable Farm. She’s in the Niagara Region of Ontario, Canada.

She has a community-supported agriculture program and she grows heirloom varieties and we’re going to talk about all of that. What is a community-supported agriculture? What is the difference between heirloom varieties and other kinds of seed?

Hi, Linda. Thanks for being with me today.

LINDA CRAGO: Hi. I’m very pleased to be here. Thank you.

DEBRA: Thank you. So what’s the weather like on your farm?

LINDA CRAGO: It continues to be chilly. We have a very cold winter. And we’re just still struggling out of it. So at this point, it’s impossible to get out on the ground and get anything in it. We have a frost last night again. We’ll get there.

DEBRA: You will. You will. It’s about beautiful 70° here.

LINDA CRAGO: Sounds lovely.

DEBRA: It is. So I want to tell everybody that the way I found Linda was that I was looking for some photos to use on my website when I was starting my food blog which is at And I came across a picture of her beautiful heirloom carrots. I just had to use that picture and I wrote to her and she allowed me to do so.

But that’s how I found her. And then I started reading her site and I need to have Linda on the show because we’re going to be talking about two very important things. One is community-supported agriculture, which I’m going to let her tell you about it, and also heirloom varieties.

But first Linda, tell us how you became interested in doing what you do.

LINDA CRAGO: It was a pretty natural transition for me. I went to university to become a social worker and did that job for about 13 years. But I had grown up in a farm, so that was really always where my heart was.

And my mom was very much a gardener and grew many things so many years ago, 40 years ago at least in her garden that people are just discovering now. So it was a really natural thing for me.

DEBRA: Yes, it sounds like it was. So you started out, after being a social worker, you started delivering organic vegetables to people that you knew.

LINDA CRAGO: That’s right. Yeah, it was one of those things. I had moved out to the country from the small city of Welland and I had nine acres all of a sudden. And I was feeling a little stressed out at my job or should I say a lot stressed out at my job and my garden kept getting bigger and bigger. I was taking produce into work as so many people do when they have big gardens.

It just went from there. It seemed the logical thing. I was looking for something else to do for my own sanity really to some degree. And it was just a natural thing for me to fall into. And the people that have been getting my produce were interested in continuing to get it. So yeah, it just all went from there.

DEBRA: Good. So explain to us what community-supported agriculture program is.

LINDA CRAGO: It’s a pretty simple concept really. It just involves people, people buying a share of the farm essentially.

So you sign up at the beginning of the growing season. And usually the payment is received before the growing season even starts and any produce is received by the shareholders. Getting that money in advance really helps the farmers purchase the supplies for the season like seeds in particular and anything else they might require.

And then each farm sets the number of weeks that the growing season is going to be and […] accordingly. But every week through the growing season, they get whatever the farm is producing.

So usually traditionally, it has been baskets of vegetables that people are getting. A lot of people do it in different ways. I have talked to some people that do—their shares include meat and eggs and firewood and maple syrup and all sorts of different things.

But I would say by far the majority of people are receiving produce, primarily vegetables, sometimes a bit of fruit, some herbs involved. But yeah, that’s how it goes.

And the understanding is that I think most people that do this program make it clear to their shareholders that not every season is the same. So there might be or there are always some years where the season just isn’t successful because usually of the weather. You can have a very cool and wet growing season and you’re just not able to produce as much.

And people accept that you could also have the most wonderful growing season ever and the people are signing up for the same amount of money and getting a tremendous value because it has been such a fabulous season. But those are the reality of growing food.

Not every season is the same. Not every season is great. And not every season is terrible.

DEBRA: But that’s the way it is in nature and I think it’s important to say that community-supported agriculture is about…

LINDA CRAGO: That’s right. And most people that sign up to become involved in a CS, they are pretty in touch with that.

DEBRA: Yeah.

LINDA CRAGO: Occasionally, you get some people that can’t understand. So it is a bit of an education and getting people to look at the weather and think about the weather and think about the impact it has on growing because that’s certainly the reality for every farmer that’s ever been.

DEBRA: I think one of the things I like about it—and I actually have a lot to say about community-supported agriculture, but we’re going to come up on the break. So I’ll just say one thing to start. And that is that being involved in a community-supported agriculture program actually brings you closer to the experience that that food comes from nature.

And if you’re buying all your food from a supermarket or even a natural food store, they’re bringing in all kinds of foods from different places so that there’s a supply of food 365 days a year. And it’s not always seasonal because it’s coming from different places.

You get a more seasonal quality if you are buying at a farmers’ market. But when you do a CSA, you’re experiencing as the customer what the farmer experiences because what you get is the production of a farm just as if you were the farmer.

I did a CSA for a couple of years and then I moved. I wouldn’t have stopped doing the CSA if I hadn’t moved away. But it totally changed my relationship with food and I’ll tell you about that when we come back.

You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd and my guest today is Linda Crago of Tree and Twig Heirloom Vegetable Farm. We’ll be right back.


DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd and my guest today is Linda Crago from Tree and Twig Heirloom Vegetable Farm.

You can go see her. She’s in Canada. And you can go see her website, her farm and her website at That’s a Canadian website.

So Linda, when I was in California, I have lived out in a rural area north of San Francisco called Marin County over the Golden Gate Bridge. And there are a lot of little farms out there and I happened to live very close to a farm that had a CSA Program.

Now, I couldn’t walk there because it was straight uphill from where I lived. So I had to drive my car. But it was so wonderful because we, as the customers, were allowed to really participate in the farm. We could consider it to be our farm and go there and work there if we wanted to help with the harvest, if we wanted to help fill the baskets and deliver them if we wanted to.

We could do anything we wanted to or not. We could have whatever kind of level of participation we wanted to have.

And it was wonderful to get the basket because it was like Christmas morning every week. It was nice because we all went to a place, a commonplace to go pick up our baskets. So I got to see my neighbors when I showed up at 5:30 on Monday night to pick up my basket.

And I never knew what was going to be in there. And so the difference is to be thinking about what foods, what dishes are you going to prepare from the foods that are available in your place in that season rather than pulling a recipe out of a recipe book and then going to the supermarket and buying the ingredients.

That’s hugely, hugely, hugely different and it aligns us with nature in a way that I just think is magnificent.

LINDA CRAGO: And it doesn’t work for everybody because some people have a problem with that spontaneity in food preparation. I found there are some people that will sit down and plan their entire week of menus and then if they get a basket of vegetables for me, then they’re thrown off.

But it’s a different way of thinking and a lot of people definitely do buy into it. And the same things that you’re talking about or the same things that are happening here, people will call me and tell me that they are just so excited to get their baskets and it’s like Christmas morning. They look at them.

And because I grow a lot of really unusual things, some of the things that are in the baskets, they’re unsure of and they have never seen them or eaten some of these things before in their life. So I always try to…

DEBRA: But then you’ve done something new. You’ve done something new.

LINDA CRAGO: …get people out so they can look at some of these things growing in the garden. And I also pass along recipes so people know how to use some of the unusual produce. So that’s fun too.

DEBRA: I really like cooking this way because it’s very spontaneous and creative. But what it really requires is a different way of looking at food.

And this is something I’m trying to do in my food blog. I don’t think in terms of recipes. I think in terms of understanding a food and technique. I know how to boil water for example. No, I do know how to boil water. I mean that’s a little simplistic.

Like how you sauté something. I could sauté any vegetable for example. But a lot of people when I moved here to Florida because I’m from Northern California where people cook more than people cook here and I didn’t know that. I just thought that everybody cooks.

And here in Florida, people were just amazed that I knew how to cook. And people were asking me to give them cooking lessons because they haven’t met somebody who knew how to cook.

But I do know how to cook. I know about technique and I learned about new foods and I’m really always curious what this food can do. What can I do with it? Like eggs. You can do a lot of things with different vegetables, do different things. They taste differently whether they’re raw or whether they’re cooked. It just excites me to learn foods.

And once you learn a food, then you don’t have to have a recipe in front of you. You just say, “Well, I’m going to take this food and do this with it and add the spice or put on these green onions,” or whatever inspires me that day.

And I think that I would like to see everybody in the world cook that way because that’s the way people used to cook. They just went out of their backyards. So they went to the local farmer or they went down into the village square and picked out the food. And there are still places on earth today where that’s the way people eat. And I think that’s the natural way for us to eat, not going to the supermarket.

LINDA CRAGO: To me, because I grow all this food and it’s just out my backdoor, the best feeling for me in the world is to go out into the garden and pick what we’re going to have for dinner. And that’s generally what I do.

And I see the CSA in the same way. I just pick for everybody else so people get to have that experience as well without the incredible satisfaction that you get from growing your own food. But still, it’s very much like that.

DEBRA: Yeah.

LINDA CRAGO: To me, I love doing the CSA and the whole thing. But to me, the very best thing in the world is me being able to out with a basket and pick what I’m going to have for supper and feed my family. So it’s that loosely translated into the CSA I think. That’s a wonderful thing.

I’m not sure. I know your weather is quite different where you are. But up here, our seasons are so much shorter.

DEBRA: Actually, we have a short season here because our seasons are flipped. You can’t plant in the winter and we can’t grow in the summer. There’s very little we can grow in the summer.

LINDA CRAGO: Oh, okay.

DEBRA: And so our fall is like your spring. So in the fall, we start planting things and we grow things over the winter.
There are some things like I’ve grown cucumbers here and you can’t even plant them until January. And then by May, they’re done because they don’t last over the heat of the summer. It is very, very hot here 24 hours a day.

LINDA CRAGO: I’d be on that stuff if I lived where you live.

DEBRA: I know.

LINDA CRAGO: But our seasons are certainly different.

DEBRA: See that’s what happened to me is that…

LINDA CRAGO: Across the United States and Canada, you’re finding now that there are a lot of CSAs that are actually running year-round. Even in our climate, people are using a lot of really very simple growing techniques. You can grow in the winter.

A lot of leafy greens with chard, kale, spinach, all those really heart greens will survive in an unheated […] This winter was extreme for us.

DEBRA: I actually need to interrupt you because we need to go to break. The commercial is going to come play over you if we don’t stop talking.

LINDA CRAGO: No problem.

DEBRA: But we’ll be back. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd. This is Toxic Free Talk Radio and we’re talking today with Linda Crago of Tree and Twig Heirloom Vegetable Farm in Ontario, Canada. We’ll be right back.


DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd and my guest today is Linda Crago from Tree and Twig Heirloom Vegetable Farm in Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada.

Linda, are you near Niagara Falls?

LINDA CRAGO: Yeah. I’m about 45 minutes or so from Niagara Falls, pretty close.

DEBRA: I’ve actually never been there, but that’s a place that I’ve always wanted to go. I always wonder if they have something about Niagara Falls on TV. I always watch it.

LINDA CRAGO: Yeah. You’ll definitely have to get there and then you can come and visit me too.

DEBRA: I will. I will. Please go on with what you were saying about growing over the winter.

LINDA CRAGO: Yeah, I was just trying to emphasize how much CSA has changed over the years. I know in our region, a lot of them actually grow through the winter as well.

Usually when you think about a CSA previously, you would think of a CSA that was maybe 20 weeks long and producing for only about 20 weeks.

But a lot of them now will run through the winter and provide their members with certainly the root crops that you would expect that can be stored like potatoes and beets and carrots, squash as well, but also fresh greens, which is pretty neat because most people would think, in Canada or even in some of the colder northeastern states, that grow and can’t be done over the winter, but it certainly can and it’s very, very low tech.

That’s all I meant. It’s low tech and it’s very possible. So we’ve learned to expand our expectations of what can be done in a CSA. That’s pretty neat.

And just in terms of being a simple thing for farmers to pick up that increases their ability to support themselves through those difficult winter months as well. It’s an important thing to think about as well.

DEBRA: I really like that because it really does give the relationship between the farmer and the farmer’s community continuing on throughout the winter, through all the seasons.

Here in Florida, we actually build our things so we can grow through the summer, but they’re not your ordinary things that you find in the supermarket. Here where I live, we have some people that are very interested in community gardens and local growing and helping people set up, growing food in their backyards and things like that.

We only have one CSA that is all booked up and so I can’t even get into it. But we have two organic nurseries now very close to where I live. And the people who are interested, who are gardeners—like you are an agricultural person. I didn’t grow up with agriculture.

And there are people here that have been gardening all their lives and growing things. And so they are trying out the varieties that will grow here and sharing with the rest of us what we can eat even though they are unusual like Moringa trees. Do you have Moringa trees there?


DEBRA: Probably not. It’s a tropical thing. But you can grow a Moringa tree. I should probably do a whole show just on Moringa trees because there are so many things that you can do with them. But unless you look outside of a supermarket, at what’s edible out in nature, you never find these other kinds of varieties.

And I really think that community-supported agriculture should be very, very widespread because it makes so much sense for people to be growing food right in a community and feeding the community and for people to be able to know the farmer and talk to them and just have that direct relationship. It’s very close to growing your food in your own backyard.

But let’s talk about heirloom.

LINDA CRAGO: If I could just add to that.

DEBRA: Go ahead. Please.

LINDA CRAGO: I think the other thing too is that it’s an excellent way for a farmer as well to market their produce. From a farmer’s point of view, it is community-supported because the produce is sold in advance so the farmer knows that they have that income so they can continue carrying on that lifestyle. That’s very important too.

So from a farmer’s point of view, it’s excellent too. So just to add that.

DEBRA: I agree. It’s just good things all around. I want to say we were talking about taking things on the garden before. I want to say that when I lived in California, I had a garden. I got food for my CSA. I also had a garden.

And one of the best, most memorable meals I ever had was a day when I dug up new baby potatoes and planted right next to them were leeks. And I just dug up these potatoes and I steamed them and I put butter on them and sautéd the leeks. It was so delicious, so delicious because food from the farm and from the backyard just tastes so much better than the supermarket. If you have never eaten it, it’s indescribably different.

LINDA CRAGO: That’s right. And most people that are involved in a CSA experience, that big difference, I’ve had a number of people that have said there are certain vegetables they would never eat. They don’t like them. And then when they tried them right from my farm, they do like those vegetables. It’s a different experience altogether.

DEBRA: Yes, totally, totally. So I really encourage anyone who only eats from the supermarket or even the natural food store to get out and find a farm or somebody with a garden and taste. It will change your life. It will just change your entire concept about food.

So I want to make sure that we talk about—doesn’t the hour go by fast? I want to make sure we talk about heirloom varieties before the end of the show. In my garden, here’s my experience with heirloom varieties.

In my garden in California, I had a split level house. And so the garden was down on the lower level and then I had a whole story and then there was a deck. And I lived on the second story. The bottom story was a garage. And so I had this deck and I put a lot of soil over it. So this was 15 or 20 feet up in the air, this deck.

Down at the bottom, I would always put six heirloom tomato plants and I would plant them. I would dig a hole and I would put fish heads down there. And then I put black pepper on top of the fish heads so that the animals wouldn’t take them. And then I put in the plant.

By the end of the summer, every summer, without fail, these six tomato plants would have grown all the way up to the deck, 20 feet and they would be climbing all over the deck. So by the time we got to the Thanksgiving and remember this was California, I was just walking out of my second story deck and picking tomatoes off the plant.

That’s what you get with an heirloom plant. At least, that’s what I got.

LINDA CRAGO: Yeah, there are some varieties that are […], you’re absolutely right.

DEBRA: So we’ll talk more about the difference between heirloom plants and the other plants when we come back.
You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. I’m Debra Lynn Dadd and I’m talking with Linda Crago of Tree and Twig Heirloom Vegetable Farm. We’ll be right back.


DEBRA: You’re listening to Toxic Free Talk Radio. My guest today is Linda Crago, owner of the nine acre Tree and Twig Heirloom Vegetable Farm in Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada.

Before the break, we started talking about heirloom seeds. Linda, tell us the difference between an heirloom seed and a hybrid seed.

LINDA CRAGO: Heirlooms are typically varieties of produce or flowers, herbs that have been in existence for more than—usually the figure is around 50 years. So they’re older varieties.

Often, they have a story associated with them such as they have been passed down from generation to generation in the family. But really most importantly for people that are growing them and saving seeds is the fact that they’re open pollinated, unlike a hybrid. It’s not possible to save seeds from a hybrid and have it come true to type whereas with an open pollinated seed, which is what all heirlooms are, you can save the seeds as long as you’re careful about cross-pollination issues.

So there are older varieties that have stood the test of time and they’re still around because they taste good. And a lot of hybrids are created not for their taste, but they’re created because they form in size or they ship well or they store well. Heirlooms are grown for taste.

DEBRA: Yes, heirlooms are grown for taste and hybrids are grown for industrialization.

LINDA CRAGO: Well, to some degree. I mean there are certainly hybrids that taste good. But I mean when you grow heirlooms, really what you’re doing is you’re preserving diversity.

We’ve lost so many vegetable varieties over the last 100 years. It’s hard to imagine and it’s really important to keep these varieties in existence.

DEBRA: Right. I agree. So what are some of your favorite heirlooms?

LINDA CRAGO: Well, my problem is I like it all. That’s why […]

DEBRA: That’s why you have a nine acre farm.

LINDA CRAGO: Yeah, exactly. I really love the heirloom tomatoes. I grow lots and lots of heirloom tomatoes. And some of the ones that are my favorites are ones that are actually unassuming, but have some really valuable characteristics of course, beyond tasting just great.

There’s one that I really like the taste of in particular and I like the fact that in our climate, it’s super early and it’s always the first tomato out of my garden. Usually people in this area get their tomatoes planted around the 24th of May or so. That’s usually considered to be like our frost-free time.

These tomatoes, I can get usually within 50 days of getting them in my garden, which is phenomenal. So that variety that I’m speaking about is a little Czechoslovakian heirloom called Stupice. That’s the pronunciation, but the spelling is S-T-U-P-I-C-E. I love that one.

But I also love the diversity of the heirloom tomatoes. There are more than 10,000 different varieties.


LINDA CRAGO: So every color that you can imagine, black and purple and brown.

DEBRA: I’ve seen a lot of them.

LINDA CRAGO: Yeah, yellow, orange, bicolors, whites, greens. The diversity is incredible in color, in shape, in size. There are some that are fluted, some that are smooth, some that have peach skins. I mean it’s just incredible, some amazing, amazing produce.

DEBRA: When I lived in California in the rural area of West Marin, I had a neighbor who had a tomato farm. She grew tomatoes and sold them. And all she grew was tomatoes. And so you would go over to her property and it would just be tomato plant after tomato plant. And all she grew was heirlooms.

And so I got to try a lot of heirloom tomatoes because I had her so close by and we were friends. And she would take them to the farmers’ market and stuff.

It’s just wonderful to see that diversity. And then you walk into the supermarket and there’s one kind of tomato. You could go to the natural food store.

I think actually you can go to the supermarket and maybe get three or four tomatoes, different types of tomatoes. But to get those heirlooms and see those with stripes and the different colors and make a salad out of them or just taste them one by one and see how they’re different that you really see the amazing diversity that is in nature of things that we can eat and that we’ve really narrowed them down to the supermarket varieties.

And it’s just so, so, so important, in our own backyards and in our own small farms, to be maintaining that genetic material.

LINDA CRAGO: That’s exactly right.


LINDA CRAGO: And it’s not just tomatoes. There are so many amazing heirlooms, squashes and peppers and potatoes.

DEBRA: Carrots.

LINDA CRAGO: Diversity, you can’t even imagine if the only place you’ve ever shopped is a grocery store. There are some amazing things, amazing tastes. That’s really what it’s all about.


LINDA CRAGO: Yeah, it’s wonderful. It’s a wonderful world.

DEBRA: And what a wonderful thing to do all day long.

LINDA CRAGO: You’ve got it. That’s great.

DEBRA: To be out there with the plants. Well, we’re getting to the end of our time, but we still have about five minutes left. Is there anything that you’d like to talk about that I haven’t asked you?

LINDA CRAGO: I am trying to think now. But just really, I would like to stress how important the heirlooms are.

One organization that I just love is in your country. It’s in Decorah, Iowa. It’s a nonprofit organization whose work is only maintaining heirloom varieties, Seed Savers Exchange.

DEBRA: Yes. I’ve known that for years. Tell us about that.

LINDA CRAGO: They do fabulous work. I think in their collection, they have tens of thousands of different seeds that they have maintained and they’ve collected varieties from all over the world and they’re trying to pass them along to individuals that are members or nonmembers.

And I just can’t stress enough how important the work that they’re doing is and what a real difference they’ve made. So if people are interested in looking them up and supporting their work, I think it’s tremendous and I think it’s very important. So you’ve got a wonderful organization.

DEBRA: Yes, they’ve been around for quite a while. And I have been recommending them a lot.
You also mentioned in your bio a couple of other organizations, Kokopelli in France and Garden Organic in England. Can you tell us about those?

LINDA CRAGO: There are a number of organizations that I’m involved with and it’s interesting to see the number of organizations that are springing up in countries really all over the world who are interested in preserving their nation’s produce, their nation’s heirlooms. Really if you look around the world, nearly every country has one now.

But Kokopelli is an interesting one because they do a lot of good outreach work as well. They’re in France, but they go into third world countries and distribute open pollinated heirloom seeds and teach people how to grow them and how to save seeds.

But they do some fabulous work and are really worthy of support as well. But it’s great. I think the interest in heirlooms is growing all the time. The way that we can preserve these varieties is to eat them, which sounds strange, but […]

DEBRA: No, I understand. It is. It is exactly the way to preserve them. It’s to eat them and grow them. I think that growing food—more and more, it is obvious to me that growing food is one of those basic life skills that everyone should have and that everybody used to have. Turn the clock back a couple of hundred years, everybody grew their food.

LINDA CRAGO: That’s right.

DEBRA: And they took their food to the village square and traded it with their neighbors and it was all extremely, extremely local and no corporations involved, just people helping each other eat.

I’m not against industrialization, but there’s so much that industry takes over that we could just be doing for ourselves. And I just think it’s such a beautiful thing for people to know how to grow, for people to help each other grow these foods to help each other understand how to prepare them and store them and to take responsibility and control for our food and our nourishment.

It’s such a fundamental thing and it’s such a direct connection with nature that I think a lot of people have lost and I’d really love to see […]

LINDA CRAGO: And I think it’s important to get children involved in it too. And it’s gratifying to see that a lot of schools are picking up on that in our area anyways and are introducing gardening programs. There’s tremendous satisfaction to be had from growing your own food.

DEBRA: And eating it.

LINDA CRAGO: […] It’s a very stress-free activity and there’s so much satisfaction from seeing what can grow from one teeny-tiny seed. It’s great when you can expose children to that as well and get them interested from the get-go.

DEBRA: Yes, I completely agree. Well, it has been a pleasure to have you on, Linda. This is just one of my favorite subjects and it’s always so good to see people who are doing these things that are—I mean this is not the normal thing that most people are doing.

And so I so appreciate your being able to decide for yourself that that’s what you want to do and do it and set an example.

LINDA CRAGO: Thank you. And it’s been a pleasure being on your show. And when you visit Niagara Falls, climb over and see me.


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