This is the first post from Mrs. Cat! I absolutely love gardening and growing my own food. I inherited that from my parents who live In Vietnam where I used to help grow veggies and raise chickens.

But it wasn’t until we bought our first house together in Massachusetts that we found a new level of passion for growing food. In the first two years owning the house, our little garden produced over 200lbs of veggies (cucumbers, tomatoes, chili peppers, mustard greens and herbs) despite the short growing season. We really didn’t even know what we were doing!

Little Bear picking and eating fresh tomatoes from our garden

The second year, hubby picked me up a book on permaculture and fermentation and I started to learn how to best preserve the veggies from our garden. We had some success making dill pickles, kimchi, sauerkraut and fermented hot sauce with a mix of foods from our garden and as well as some supplement from our local farmers market. The second growing season wasn’t as good at the first, but we did our best. The garden definitely brings so much joy to our family. With some small success with our garden, I started thinking what if I can grow enough veggies and fruits for our family year round?

In 2019, we discovered the financial independence(FI) movement and listened to the ChooseFI podcast together all the time as well. For me, it is imperative to align these two goals - FI and growing our own food. Going down the rabbit hole, I found out about permaculture.

Permaculture is a powerful tool which teaches us how to make the most out of the land yet require little to no effort to maintain the ecology over time. What is better than that? Being able to provide quality food for the family and cutting that expense out of our budget sounds great. But soon, I found myself stuck in my own dreams.

Before making a decision to invest money in fixing the soil and preparing for next season, I realized our current property is not ideal for long-term food growing, but not necessarily bad for FI.

Pros:

Location location - close to Little Bear’s daycare (5 mins car ride, 20 mins walking), good neighborhood, close to all necessary facilities (hospital, school, supermarkets) including Mr Bear family. This is very important to me.
Housing costs - We just refinanced to have a much lower monthly mortgage payment.
Big yard with fence - Safe play area for Little Bear

Cons:

Next to the major road - This is the biggest concern for long-term food growing with the fact that our fence got hit once since we moved here. Plus the exhaust from cars running would damage the veggies/fruits quality and directly affect our health.
Old house - This spiked two concerns. It is likely that the soil is contaminated with lead. And eventually the old house will need a big chunk of money to upgrade.

How can I reconcile these competing ideas and desires and achieve my goals?

  • Should we sell the current house and move into an apartment while looking for her perfect little plot of land?

OR

  • Should we invest money and time into our current house so at least we can enjoy the present and save as much money as possible until we can take the risk of moving to a different place?

Please leave your thoughts in the comments! Thank you for reading!