Keith Bansemer is the vice president of marketing at My Patriot Supply, where the longtime expert in advertising, digital strategy, and eCommerce is responsible for directing the marketing efforts of multiple brands across more than two-dozen individual websites. Keith, a resident of northern Idaho who enjoys spending time off the grid near Upper Priest Lake in Idaho, has long been fond of the outdoors and spends a great deal of his time away from work hiking, gardening, and reading. Keith’s peers have praised the former radio talk show host for his natural leadership skills, tremendous foresight, and his consistent willingness to provide exceptional mentoring or guidance to anyone who happens to ask.

What is your hobby?

I enjoy anything involving the outdoors, especially hiking and gardening. That includes through the winter with an herbal garden in my kitchen window.

How did you get started with this hobby? What inspired you?

My family always kept a garden wherever we lived. We’ve canned different foods each fall. I learned so much about nature and the environment just from tending to the garden during each season that I couldn’t help feeling inspired to maintain a garden ever since.

Tell us what you love about it.

Gardening keeps me closely connected to the environment in which I live while also reminding me to appreciate all the time and energy that goes into providing nourishment — something too many of us take for granted. It’s a skill we all need to learn.

Are there any groups you’re a part of or events that you attend related to your hobby?

There are several community gardens in or around the area, so I like to help out whenever I am able.

Have you had to invest in equipment and if so, please share some of the things you’ve bought.

Gardening is such a great hobby for the simple fact that, when done right, the expense to create and maintain a garden is minimal. I add homemade compost to provide the beds with nutrients during the growing season, and rarely do I need anything other than a bucket and a garden spade.

Where do you buy most of your supplies?

There’s an organic market in town that sells fish emulsion and liquid kelp, which is useful for a quick foliar feeding.

Are there any good books for beginners?

Most people cite a lack of space as a reason why they don’t garden, so I often recommend that beginners find a copy of the original “Square Foot Gardening” (or the updated version, “All New Square Foot Gardening”) by Mel Bartholomew.

How has this changed your life?

Gardening reminds me of the limitless value associated with self-reliance. It also makes me that much more appreciative of our natural environment and all the vital resources we have available to us. Plus, it cuts my spending at the grocery store.

What advice do you have for others starting out with this hobby?

Focus on learning which crops perform best in your individual climate zone and begin with those first. Some crops can be especially challenging in certain regions, and this might discourage a beginner from developing a lifelong love of gardening.

Are there any other hobbies you have?

In addition to my passion for gardening, I always look forward to going on long hikes and enjoy reading as well.