During the onset of the 2008 financial crisis, Washington Post columnist Tamar Haspel and her husband Kevin decided to leave their New York City apartment behind for a small home on Cape Cod with one project in mind: to prepare and eat one meal a day that they had a first-hand role in creating, whether through gardening, foraging, farming, fishing or hunting.

“You know, I’m a food writer, I thought this would be an interesting thing to hang some writing on, and it was more than a lark — but not much more,” Haspel told Boston Public Radio on Friday. “And then it got this life of its own, and it turned out to [not only be] about food, but also the secret to successful self improvement.”

Out of this challenge came Haspel’s recent book, “To Boldly Grow: Finding Joy, Adventure, and Dinner in Your Own Backyard,” which details her and her husband’s trials and errors in gathering food firsthand.

“This involved us doing all kinds of stuff we'd never done before: we'd never designed a chicken coop. We'd grown a few things when we lived in New York; [we’d] never identified a mushroom that doesn't kill you. I had never caught a fish, although my husband had,” Haspel said. “And so we spent the entire life of this project, basically, on the steep part of the learning curve. I can work at writing for the rest of my life, but you never get to learn as much as the increment from zero to one.”

One of the other reasons behind starting this project, Haspel says, was growing tomatoes in her New York rooftop garden. While the tomato variety might be the same as one she could pick up at a local grocery store, knowing that she had a hand in the growing process added to the food quality and taste.

“It's this combination of a delicious thing to eat, and all of the personal investment into it,” Haspel said. “And every single person who raises food says ‘yes, that food is different.’”

When asked if she had tips for those who are unsure of their hunting and gathering capabilities, Haspel recommended that people should start small, and start with the things they like to eat.

“The entry point is realizing that people have done this since the dawn of people, and it really can't be that hard,” Haspel said. “Get one of those hydroponic gardens and put it in your windowsill — that’s a gateway. Find your local mushroom club and go on a mushroom walk with them on the weekend."