Teach your children to fish

Teach your children to fish literally and figuratively speaking.

Trout fisherman.

I am so glad my parents taught me to fish, both literally and figuratively speaking. Actually that is not entirely true; I was of an age when I knew everything and unteachable, and learning about gardening was very low on my agenda, but I did know that the green peas and freshly-squeezed orange juice straight from the garden were without equal; it did not take an epicure to establish that which the food companies produced was not even vaguely in the same league when it came to flavour. Whether it was nourishing or not was not important in those heady days.

Watching long queues of desperately hungry people in the media waiting for food parcels again gave me a deep appreciation of the love of the garden that was gently planted deep in my psyche without my even knowing it; they left a legacy that is without equal.

How to grow peas; the young seedling at 10 days.

Of course it is not just about having plenty of food when others are starving; the taste and nutritional content and the absence of toxic pesticides are just as important.

We have at least 10 different fruiting bushes and trees growing in our garden. On any one day our family would be enjoying at least three. Right now it is avocados, gooseberries and limes. In summer it might be mulberries, oranges and plums. Yes, you might have the conundrum of finding half a worm in your peach but that is a lesser evil compared to being diagnosed with leukaemia.

Then there are mountains of fresh vegetables. Plenty of greens like kale, spinach and lettuce and thick butternut soup with slices of real bread and butter are daily on the platter. There will be three different kinds of beans for protein today and the peas are coming up strongly. Herbs like parsley and dhania and spring onions are what turn a dull lettuce salad into a delight to the senses.

Corn on the cob has daily been on the menu for lunch for three months, but alas they are now over and we were amiss in not planting potatoes in February so it’s freshly baked bread for lunch every day for our carbohydrate now.

Fresh honey straight from the hive actually is the legacy that my grandfather left behind. Three of his grandchildren are avid beekeepers. Cynical nutritionists say it’s just as bad for us as sugar; that may be true of the processed stuff you buy from the supermarket but our raw honey is rich in pollen and over thirty important micronutrients. Still, we do limit ourselves to a few teaspoons a day. It is a simple carbohydrate and will in excess spike your blood glucose.

My parents did dabble for a time with chickens in cages, but soon realised that was not part of our philosophy of abundant living. Still that seed too was planted and today we enjoy fresh free-range eggs daily and the occasional young cockerel.

Swiss chard and fresh eggs Florentine.

Teach your children to fish

Teach your children to fish or is it better learned by simply watching you at work and play? I never realised that I was imbibing a love of tasty, good food.

Baking fresh bread was the legacy that my nanny left behind, bless her. Four large sacks of wheat from a Winterton farmer are safely stored away from weevils (by freezing for several weeks), so for five rand a loaf we have daily the very best sourdough bread in the world; the taste is to die for.

And lastly we have no need of a gym contract; shovelling compost and digging out mealie stalks, for example, provides us with the exercise that our bodies need. We would like to walk more; that is in the planning.

Teach your children to fish. They will always have food and will bless you long after you have passed on to the next world.

  1. Bernard Preston
  2. Our green home
  3. Our green garden
  4. Teach your children to fish


Our newsletter is entitled "create a cyan zone" at your home, preserving both yourself, your family and friends, and Mother Earth for future generations. We promise not to spam you with daily emails promoting various products. You may get an occasional nudge to buy one of my books!

Here are the back issues.

  • Bake your own sourdough bread
  • Microplastics from our water
  • Alternative types of water storage
  • Wear your clothes out
  • Comfort foods
  • Create a bee-friendly environment
  • Go to bed slightly hungry
  • Keep bees
  • Blue zone folk are religious
  • Reduce plastic waste
  • Family is important
  • What can go in compost?
  • Grow broad beans for longevity
  • Harvest and store sunshine
  • Blue zone exercise
  • Harvest and store your rainwater
  • Create a cyan zone at your home

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56 Groenekloof Rd,

Hilton, KZN

South Africa