May 29th, 2012
01:00 PM ET
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May 23rd, 2012
05:00 PM ET
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What happens when people stop being polite and start getting real?

According to the last few seasons of MTV's "The Real World," they get drunk, hook up and make innumerable questionable decisions.

What happens when strangers come to live on a family farm in rural Arkansas, grow their own food, give up modern-day conveniences and attempt zero waste?

While it may not sound like a compelling reality show by MTV's standards, that's exactly the premise of the independent film, "The Garden Summer," which debuted to a sold-out crowd in Charleston, South Carolina, on April 16. It also premiered in Conway, Arkansas, on May 18.

Inspired by the idea of social capital, then-Georgetown graduate student Hailey Wist came up with an idea for a social experiment that would challenge people like her to live off the land. The ultimate goal was "to inspire, not preach."

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Filed under: Feature • Fit Nation • Gardening • Local Food • Movies • Think

May 9th, 2012
10:45 AM ET
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Eight years ago, 52-year-old flight attendant Louise Tremblay thought she had finally found her dream home tucked into the woods in the Quebec countryside. But, as she attempted to draw a relaxing bath her first night in the house, she realized quickly that something was amiss. The tub filled a scant two inches and she realized to her horror that she had poured her entire life's savings into a home with no viable source of water. The house, as it turned out, had been built atop an old garbage dump.

The nearest neighbor was unwilling to work with her to fix the shared, faulty well and city officials would not allow her to dig a new one. Drained of financial resources, she looked around to take stock of her surroundings. "I had my garden to keep me alive," she said. "I had my vegetable garden to keep me healthy."

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Filed under: Feature • Fit Nation • Fit Nation Farming • Gardening • Gardening • iReport • Urban Gardening

March 28th, 2012
04:45 PM ET
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Too broke? Too busy? Too...nope. We're having none of that. This is the year you garden.

Watch Eatocracy on CNN Newsroom every Wednesday at 12:45 ET.

This is the year you garden
March 22nd, 2012
01:30 PM ET
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Eatocracy's Managing Editor Kat Kinsman attempts to vegetable garden on a roof deck in Brooklyn, NY in USDA Hardiness Zone 6b. Feel free to taunt, advise or encourage her efforts as this series progresses.

This year, you'll grow your own food. Not all of it and probably not even most or much of it. But you'll grow some, and that's going to change your life.

There are plenty of reasons to do this. Andrew Zimmern told us just this week that. "If everyone grew what they could, supported urban farms and community gardens in cities and local CSAs, the pressure relief on our overtaxed system would be immense. The resulting dollar shift would be staggering and deliver a positive shot in the arm to local economies. Our food would also be safer. Small action here can yield tremendous impact, immediately."

That's awfully compelling - and pretty intense. Perhaps start small. Grow an herb you are sick of having to pay money for at a store. Grow a vegetable that reminds you of how a grandparent's kitchen smelled. Grow a fruit you always want to have at your fingertips. Grow an ingredient that will make your sauce, stew, soup or salad taste the way it did when you had it at that little cafe in Rome, France, Mexico City or Des Moines.

March 19th, 2012
11:00 AM ET
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When I stroll through the aisles of my local garden center in early March, I feel like "The Jerk," Navin R. Johnson.

"The only thing I need is this packet of Big Boy Hybrid tomato seeds. I don't need anything else. Just these Big Boy Hybrid tomato seeds... and those yellow squash seeds. The Big Boy and the yellow squash seeds and that's all I need... and these Royal Burgundy bean seeds. The tomato, squash, and bean seeds and that's all I need...I don't need one other thing, not one... oh, I need these Clemson Spineless okra seeds."

Every year at this time, this home gardener itches to pull the wool mittens off of his green thumbs. The best scratch is a trip down to my local plant palace, Merrifield Garden Center. During spring, I visit Merrifield so often, I might as well endorse my paychecks straight to them – not because it's expensive, but because I always want to grow what they've got.  And when it comes to seeds, they've got it all. From aubergines to zucchini and everything in between.

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Filed under: Fit Nation • Food Politics • Gardening • Gardening • Local Food • Make • Think • Video

Notes from Zone 6b – letting failure bloom
July 19th, 2011
01:45 PM ET
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Eatocracy's Managing Editor Kat Kinsman attempts to vegetable garden on a roof deck in Brooklyn, NY in USDA Hardiness Zone 6b. Feel free to taunt, advise or encourage her efforts as this series progresses.

My edible loofah won't fruit, and there doesn't seem to be a darned thing I can do about it. For that matter, I can't stave off daikon bolt, keep my African Guinea Flint corn from slumping or save my white bush scallop squash from the indignity of slug consumption.

This is mostly my fault, and I have to live with it. I could have just laid down to drown in a deluge of Netflix-streamed episodes of Battlestar Galactica, taken up yogalates or just napped like a normal person, but no, not me. As a friend recently pointed out to me, I use any scrap of down time I have to assign myself an extra job.

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