Growing Your Own Food: RPA Style

Digital Art by Matthew Steele

Digital Art by Matthew Steele

Every Tuesday from 3 to 6 pm in the summer at Centennial Park, Redmond hosts a farmer’s market that is full of lush, healthy, delicious organic food. This food is always fresh and much of it is grown in Central Oregon, maybe close to where you live! However, you could get even closer by growing your own fruits and vegetables and harvesting your own eggs and milk.

Matt Killpack, a Social Studies teacher at Redmond Proficiency Academy, is taking advantage of the space he has at his own home. “I have a 40 foot greenhouse that I am going to fill with plants. Mostly stuff to make salsa, because that’s the best thing on burritos,” says Killpack. “It’s cheaper and it’s better for you. Pound for pound it would be cheaper. Tomatoes are very expensive, but tomato seeds you can get for 80 cents maximum. I would rather eat Mickey D’s chicken nugs all day, but what I should do is eat lettuce and tomatoes together. That’s called a salad.” If growing your own food is really cheaper, how much cheaper is it?

Initially, the set up in growing your own garden constitutes buying soil, buying compost, and buying tools to maintain your garden. Due to this, in the very beginning, growing your own food will most likely cost you more than just buying food at the grocery store. However, as time goes on, the food you are growing does make itself financially worth it. At the end of a work day, you may see Hector West, an RPA Humanities teacher, on the third floor giving out eggs to fellow teachers. Tamara Bremont, a Health teacher at RPA, also has “four chickens.” She says, “littler kids think it’s fun to take care of and grow their own food.” Growing your own food, raising animals for food, and gardening in general is a good bonding activity for families or even friends. This can be seen by the trend of high school students co-owning cacti and succulent plants. However, there are other ways of making vegetable last a long while other than owning a lasting desert plant.

After growing all of your delicious plants and food, you may not know what to do with it all before it rots. Well, fear not! Sandy Cloud, RPA Community Liaison, uses a canning system that allows her to save food year round: “My husband grows them in the greenhouse and I can them in July. First you have to grow them, pick them, wash them, pick the stems, pack them into jars for canning,  and pour boiling water over them. Then you have to put new lids and rims on, and then you have to put them in the canner, and then process them for 20 minutes. Picking a full batch, which is seven quart jars, takes probably an hour. I watch Netflix while I’m doing it and it goes by really fast. It takes about two to three hours to finish the rest of the canning process.” Cloud also discusses the idea of food security in Redmond. She says. “It’s a secure feeling. We have about a three day food in supply in Central Oregon, then there would be no food in the stores. We can eat them [the beans] all winter long.” Having a safe and secure sense in food is an important ideal, and if you are interested in having your own food supply, you should consider growing and canning your food!

Do you like to save money, eat healthy foods, and have a sense of food security? Grow your own food! It takes work, but it is definitely worth it. You can take RPA faculty’s word for it.

If you grow your own food, take a picture of it and use the hashtag #SPECKmedia for a chance to be featured on our page!


Hailey McMichael