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Cultivating Place: Dispatches From The Home Garden – Urban Homesteading And A Garden Journey

Gardening is a specifically human endeavor. It is a characterizing feature of our species, fairly well documented throughout our evolution. Which fascinates me. And each of us come to this endeavor for our own reasons and needs – sometimes very practical, sometimes very esthetic, sometimes spiritual. Our gardens are like some larger version of our very fingerprints.

Today Cultivating Place welcomes a home gardening member of the so called “millennial” generation, and self-described Urban Homesteader. Despite having grown up around gardening, she did not begin to really absorb its importance and her own attraction to it until her own early adulthood. Today, she shares with us her journey so far, some of the lessons and highlights, her first experience leaving an established garden, and the opportunities presenting themselves to her in her new garden.

Melissa Keyser, along with her husband Matt, have recently relocated from Santa Rosa, CA to Sacramento, CA. After four years spent building and establishing what they imagined to be their “forever home,” their journey has taken a twist. She is blogs about their pursuit of a sustainable urban homesteading life at

Listening to the story of Melissa and Matt’s gardening and homesteading journey I am struck by a couple of things – the first being that there is little new under the sun, but that the fun part is often part and parcel of discovering and learning some of these things for ourselves. The second thing I am struck by is hope. Each generation of horticulturists, gardeners and plant lovers will necessarily respond to the prevailing social, cultural, economic and political winds of their own moment in time, and for me there is beauty, taste and hope in their resourcefulness and resilience in doing just this.

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Jennifer Jewell is the creator and host of the national award-winning, weekly public radio program and podcast, Cultivating Place: Conversations on Natural History & the Human Impulse to Garden, Jennifer Jewell is a gardener, garden writer, and gardening educator and advocate. Particularly interested in the intersections between gardens, the native plant environments around them, and human culture, she is the daughter of garden and floral designing mother and a wildlife biologist father.