Denise Stalder on Growing Food to Support Retirement
Transitioning to a garden based lifestyle when faced with sudden loss of income.
Denise is a grandmother of eight who was forced into retirement from a management position at the age of 57. She and her husband rented a community garden plot of 1000 square feet to save money by supplementing their food and decided they could try to live on a lot less money since life was nicer without her working a 50-60 hour work week.
Eventually they bought an old farmhouse on 1.7 acres 1-hour north of the city in southern Ontario, Canada and have developed raised beds, grow a good amount of their own produce and are starting with chickens this year. They have found this has been a wonderful retirement solution for them.
It has been a way to reduce expenses and yet create a lifestyle that is healthy, happy, and a wonderful example for their grandchildren who are learning all about where food comes from.
In This Podcast: Denise tells Greg how one day she was unexpectedly retired and needed to start saving money. After getting inspiration from a walk near a farmers’ market, she and her husband started with a small plot in a community and gain the confidence in what she could grow herself. A short time later they left that garden moved to a larger property. Greg is moved by her story of her grandkids getting food from the garden. Then they share tips and suggestions on raising chickens. Denise has moved to the point of getting 60% of her food from her garden with a little from the farmers market.
Listen in and learn about:
- How one day she was suddenly retired and taking a walk to think about solutions she passed a farmers’ market and was inspired
- The program in Ontario called Farm-start which helps young farmers to start farming, and a community garden for others
- She got a 1000 sq ft plot in the community garden which was tilled and had a water source
- The community was varied in ages and nationalities and everyone shared stories and suggestions
- This plot was a great trial run for her to see what she could do on her own then she and her husband ventured out to find their own property an hour north of the city
- They have frost until the end of May and beginning again before the end of September
- Why they named the farm and the family connection
- How much enjoyment her grandkids are getting from their farm
- How she started with a few raised beds and now is up to seven beds
- How she is experimenting with many different vegetables and learning what she likes
- Why she loves growing heritage seeds
- Her adjustment to the different sun seasons
- Why she does starters in her home
- What she canned just the week of this interview
- How her gift giving has changed to homemade and garden based gifts
- Her current projects for the garden beds and the chickens
- More about the Deep Litter system for chickens
- Raising chickens in the winter
- Her plans to raise bees through taking a rescued wild swarm
- How she is loving the community of urban farming and learning so much
- What sparked her interest in growing food as a youth
As well as:
- Why she feels that killing a plant is so hard and yet last year she planted more seeds than she had room
- How the joy of seeing the garden come back each spring, is so beautiful and the bountiful food is what drives her
- Now she estimates that 60% or more of her food comes from the garden or the farmers market next door.
- Her advice to podcast listeners is to Just do it, and have chickens don’t be chicken
Books Denise Recommends:
The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollen
Slice of Organic Life by Sheherazade Goldsmith
How to reach Denise:
Facebook: Denise Stalder-French