Took a big step forward today. I went with my brother Tim to purchase materials for the construction of a green house... a big part of my recovery plan.
About three years ago when I was on chemo for desmoid tumours I received some help from Inspire Health - a supportive cancer care organization funded by MSP. One of the things they suggested was to develop a hobby... you know... something other than work. So one day while browsing the internet I came across a video describing the design of a vertical hydroponic garden. I pinged my buddy Brandon asking him if he was interested in building one with me and now three years later we have added another co-founder (Win) and have a farm (Green Guys on The Drive) that last year fed 22 people from May to October.
This year we have plans to feed 26 people with produce from the vertical hydroponic garden and the onsite soil garden. We do all of this using a community supported agriculture business model and if we are lucky we break even at the end of each year (okay, we have yet to break even ;) ) And we have lots of fun growing the veggies while building community in East Vancouver.
The green house is the big addition this year. It is us putting together our learning about how to grow seedlings from seed in the fastest possible way with the lowest mortality rate. The plan is that this should also increase yields from the garden.
So how is this all part of my recovery plan? It keeps me engaged mentally engaged. Since returning home from the hospital I have created an operating budget for this year and come up with a design and budget for the green house. I have also worked with Felice to create a brochure to help sell the 10 shares in this year's harvest (there are 2 remaining at the moment).
Physically, it provides a set of activities (building the greenhouse and operating the garden and harvesting produce) )that initially I will need help completing and hopefully with time I will be able to do do more and more on my own (or at least won't be dependent on their help).
Emotionally and spiritually it helps meet my needs of having an experience of contributing to my community (helping to grow food for 26 people) while also helping to build community in the area of Vancouver in which I live. Both of these are incredibly important for me as I am not working (perhaps the norm by which most people experience contributing to society - me included).
Last, it also helps me feel a part of a community of people with shared values around community, healthy food, local economy etc....
Today was another big step in helping to make this continuing dream of both myself and the other co-founders - Brandon and Win, as well as our members a reality.
For me personally with taking these first few steps I feel both excitement and a bit anxious. Excited about putting into practice a new way of growing seedlings based on our experience and excitement over the quantities of greens that will be produced.
And anxious over thoughts of wondering if I have the strength yet to build and operate the garden yet. This is countered by the fact that I have friends and family close by who have said they will help out and also by my belief that following one's dreams and passions puts one in touch with their life force which is healing in and of itself.
This Saturday (day after tomorrow) we build the green house. Stay tuned for the pics!
Dan and Company
We got this... This has been the mantra of Dan's friends and family as they help him navigates a difficult medical rodeo ride. This blog contains entries from Dan as well as his friends and family.