Learning to Self-Sustain Together

While some businesses are slowly beginning to reopen, most schools will remain closed through the academic year and parents and their kids have had to adjust to a new way of life. Parents are doing their best to provide for their families while simultaneously helping to educate them and keep them entertained. When businesses began shutting down, supplies became more limited, and most were restricted to their homes, Jay Hicks (Track & Field 1992-94) felt a sense of security in knowing that he and his family were more prepared than most due to a hobby they started nine years ago.

Jay’s family started a garden in their backyard as a fun activity they could participate in together. When they had to begin sheltering in place, they decided to lean into gardening as a family and their garden became more than a casual hobby with tremendous new value. In addition to having fresh produce without having to leave their home, they had a supply of home-canned vegetables to rely on when so many stores had been picked clean. Jay learned about canning from his grandparents and wanted to pass that knowledge onto his sons so they canned plenty of vegetables before the pandemic hit.

Most families have been spending more time together than ever. While that comes with benefits and challenges, this time has allowed many of us to appreciate our families in a new way. As Jay explains, “We have been spending more time together and it’s been a real benefit during these unknown times.” Not only has the Hicks’ family garden provided them with food, it has provided years of quality time and a special way for Jay to connect with his sons, Justin (14) and Avery (9). Working in the garden gives them time to be outdoors and active together while they’re weeding, painting planter boxes, and tending to their plants.

Jay’s family plans to keep their garden going for years to come. While some things may change when we resume the “new normal,” one thing will remain the same—the Hicks family will still have their time together in the garden.


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