Sumner - When visitors walk by Kelda Miller's Sumner home, they often pause by the front yard, which is covered in straw.
“So many people have stopped by to check it out, so it’s starting a conversation,” Miller explained.
Miller, who founded Sustainable Puyallup, is an avid gardener. She rents a room in her Gary Street home from the owner, Stew Fraser, who let her dig up his front and back yards to grow everything from corn, turnips, onions and spinach to raspberries, flowers and herbs. As Miller walks around the impressive backyard, she points out where everything should start growing in spring.
“The self-reliance (of growing your own food) is fun,” Miller said. “There’s food all year long. (But) it also addresses a lot of local and global problems.”
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For Miller, it doesn’t just stop at growing food. The 31-year-old South Hill native has never owned a car, although she does have a driver’s license, and she relies on her bicycle to get her most everywhere. She purposely lives a short walk from the Sumner Sounder station and often takes the train into Tacoma. Miller loves her lifestyle so much that she makes her living off of teaching classes on sustainability everywhere from Bellingham to Portland and is thinking of selling herbs she grows.
Miller’s entire home is packed with her passion. Herbs are stored in glass jars in the kitchen and living room, herbs are drying in the hallway and pumpkins from the yard are on the table. Miller offers guests dandelion or lemon balm tea, made with herbs she’s grown.
As gung-ho as Miller is about her lifestyle, even she admitted that not everyone needs to be this passionate to make a difference. Even she picks up a few things at the store, she said.
“All our produce comes from our garden, but not all of my food. I like dairy and ice cream, so ...” Miller said with a laugh.