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All You Need is a Goat to Be Happy in Life

All You Need is a Goat to Be Happy in Life

Isabel Cowles Murphy | Chef's Blade

This article was originally published in the Huffington Post on May 5, 2009.

Logan Scott, age 7, owes his life to a goat and a backyard garden. In 2006 Logan’s parents, Aaron and Stephanie Scott, began a small experiment to save their son from a severe nutritional deficiency. A mere three years later, the Scotts have created their own small enterprise, “Southern Hope Farm,” which has nourished their son back to health and has blossomed into a community hub where friends, family, neighbors–and even strangers–are welcome to witness and partake in the passion and potential of a simple, family garden.

A few weeks ago I wrote about Alice Waters and her responsibility to take on the problem of high sustainable food prices. Yet the potential for change is within reach for all of us and if we value sustainable food, we must develop a personal stake in what we eat. That means knowing our food sources–costly as they may be–and producing our own. Unfortunately, many people claim that they are incapable of growing anything, and find the process too daunting. After visiting the Scotts, I better understood this common apprehension, the root of which may be more intimidating than the idea of killing a few plants.

A few days after publishing the Alice Waters piece, I was working at a nearby community garden, where I noticed a ruddy man in a suit plucking weeds and watering patches of seed. I was intrigued: typically, people on their way to the office don’t stop by to admire the cucumber vine. Another gardener introduced us, telling me that Aaron had worked at the community garden long enough to figure things out and start his own small farm. He did it under two seasons. Two weeks later, I was on my way to the Scott’s home in Manvel, Texas, to learn the story of a family for whom gardening became an absolute necessity–and an attainable one.

For nearly four years, Aaron and Stephanie Scott watched their son’s body reject nutrition. From his third to fourth birthday, Logan gained less than an ounce of weight. Logan’s condition began when he was just ten days old and underwent a serious round of antibiotics, which destroyed his intestinal flora and ability to properly digest food. Eventually, the condition was so severe that his body recognized food as an antigen and Logan had to be fed through a surgically inserted tube.