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A Chef finds her roots in her own backyard.

(post, MLisa Kelley)

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My Mama, Velma Lawrence, was an amazing gardener.  We have a joke in our family that she could just stick her finger in the dirt and her plants would just bloom and fruit!  It was not that far from the truth.  She was magic and would go outside after dinner and working all day, taking care of us and work in the garden for hours on end. She loved it and it really showed.

This is how I grew up, organic, fresh fruits and vegetables still warm from the  sun, often didnt make it to our dinner table.  Somehow, in my busy adult life, I had gotten away from gardening.  Running around to find my roots, but never feeling like I found them wherever I looked.

Since I had my daughter, Lucia, I have had this unstoppable nesting thing going on.  I have always been a care-taker, and in fact was able to turn this talent into my career as an Executive Chef for a non-profit social services agency, here in the Bay Area, CA.  I am one of the lucky ones.

I have been at Seneca Center for eight years now.  And after much campaigning, we started our own organic community garden here.  It has been so great to see "my kids" learn and grow as they learn to care for and grow their own food!

Looking back, just like Dorothy, I have found my roots, my joy and my purpose in my own backyard.

My Mama died, when my daughter was four, so she never had a chance to see her in our own backyard garden...nor did she ever get to see my own dream come true to bring the experience to my kids at work...but as she is up in heaven looking down, I know that she is smiling everytime one of my kids sticks their fingers in the dirt~!