Conscious Cooking: Edible Gardening Tips from Albert Risemberg


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When the zombie apocalypse happens, the best place to escape might just be Albert Risemberg’s house. At his home in Gulfport, just south of St. Petersburg, Albert grows enough food to survive any pullback situation that may arise.

The 61-year-old’s small front and back yards resemble a modern-day Garden of Eden, lush with fruit and vegetable plants, 10 beehives for honey and an impressive composting facility. Albert even grows plants to make his own medicine. His sustainability efforts earned him the title of Gulfportian of the Year from local newspaper The Gabber.

But Albert didn’t always lead such an eco-friendly lifestyle. Born in Argentina, he moved to the United States with his family when he was 3 years old.

“My parents were both doctors, so growing food just wasn’t part of my upbringing,” he says. “In the 1960s, we tried to become Americans.” This included eating lots of packaged foods.

Albert spent 30 years as an aircraft mechanic. He and his then wife raised two sons together. He was finally living the American dream. There was just one problem.

“I was unhappy,” he says. “I worked too much”

Then 9/11 happened. With the airline industry in dire straits, Albert accepted his company’s offer of early retirement at age 47. Shortly after, her marriage was dissolved. Thus began the second act of Albert.

He befriended an acupuncturist/massage therapist.

“She was all about sustainability,” Albert says. “That’s when I first got a taste of what sustainability was.” He eventually moved to Florida and became involved with the 15th Street Farm. “That’s where I really cut my teeth in urban agriculture,” he says.

Fast forward to today. Albert grows dozens of edible plants, from lettuce and lychee to mango and moringa. He calls his farm Moon Landing. There is even a small garden nursery where the public can purchase plants, by appointment only. He sells herbs and honey and teaches yoga, and he’s happier than ever. Not only does this sustainable lifestyle nurture him physically, but also financially and spiritually, he says.

In an interview with The Zest, Albert offers encouragement for people starting their sustainability journey later in life. It also offers a list of easy-to-grow edible plants for beginners in Florida. His crush? Papaya.

“Often,” he says, “papaya yields the best fruit the first year. »

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