Introducing Emma Cusdin

Hey, I’m E-Cus, and up until I started writing for Use Good Stuff, gardening was my guilty pleasure. Growing up in the thriving metropolis that is Christchurch, we always had a veggie garden and home grown produce around thanks to the efforts of my outstanding parents Dennis and Denise. We always had our own strawberries, lemons, potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc. and in summer, we would hardly ever have to buy vegetables from the supermarket. I didn’t start growing until I was 24. As an actor, my job can be pretty time consuming. I didn’t think I would be able to maintain a garden long term, but on a few sunny afternoons while I was between jobs I would get out into the garden and get a few hours of work done. It was not easy, but it was rewarding and the fresh air and exercise did me a world of good.

Pretty soon things started sprouting. When my radishes came through I was so excited I had to selfie with them and put it on my Facebook page. I don’t even eat radishes. Ever since then I have given anything a go, maintaining a garden the size of however much time I have available, and I have never felt overwhelmed or unsatisfied. My favourite moment of last summer was stepping out into my garden (with my beloved cat Chocky in tow) and picking our first sun ripened strawberry of the season. Beat that, $4.99 supermarket strawberries.

For me, sustainability means making as many simple lifestyle changes as possible. Making a commitment to something like this can seem like a chore, and it is easy to get disillusioned. I resisted taking it seriously for a long time because I was sure I was ‘too busy’ and that ‘even if I did, it wouldn’t make a difference’. Those reasons can seem pretty real in the moment, but whatever small changes you can make will have impact. You have got to start somewhere and every little bit counts. Gardening is not just for your grandma anymore. Eating seasonal, organic deliciousness doesn’t need to be a rare pleasure or a hole in your pocket, you just need a little know how and a little bit of down time. Now that I’ve done it (and I am still doing it) I am so excited to start helping other people do it too.

– E Cus

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