Work. Raising your own food is work, an easy reason to skip that, head to the super markets and pick up whatever you are having for whatever meal you and your family are eating, without thinking much about it. Or the local fast food stop to quickly grab a 'meal' and get that eating business out of the way. It's a great boon for doctors, insurance companies and gyms, where the consequences of our choices are fought on every level but the most basic one, what we put into our bodies. It's work, until you do it. Until you reap what you've sown and gathered that work into your arms, washed it, cooked it, eaten it. The pleasures that do occur the growing expand exponentially, flowering into preparing meals steeped with satisfaction beyond any other flavor known any other way.
Some old photos from California. After 30 years of putzing around with plants here and there, being with my son on the berry farm where he lives, I was jumpstarted (in typical island fashion, a little at a time) back to the future.
|One of my favorite photos of my son|
|I look at this and can feel the ache in my back and arms from planting strawberries.|
|The older plants yielding to make strawberry ginger jam. Yes, it's worth it.|
BUT! The awakening of the public to insidious occupation of our fields and larders is growing. Banning GMO's in many countries, more gardens (each one a Victory Garden in my opinion, whether it is an acre or a line of herbs on your windowsill), more just saying no to poisoned food, it's happening, slowly slowly but each step in the right direction is a step toward regaining our farms and our health and, with wonder, back to food that tastes like it ought to taste, pungent, spicy, a burst, an explosion of flavor on the tongue.
Rather than buying that insipid mealy, tasteless tomato, more and more people are discovering for the first time that a tomato, brilliantly colored, spurting juiciness, full of seeds that can be replanted to bring forth its own true type. While buying seeds is now a minefield of choice between supporting Monsanto, who now even own many heirloom seed names, and supporting organizations such as Seed Savers, it is still possible to buy healthy seeds that will grow healthy plants. Or, you can go to farmer's markets where the dirty work, as in work in the dirt, has been done for you, giving you the opportunity to literally repay them. By supporting those farmers whose 7 day workweek, one or two of them topped off with days at the market, hauling in fresh produce/honey/eggs, a circle of wholeness can be completed in your kitchen and dining tables. Glory!
|Real garlic, grown in good soil, uncontaminated. Most likely, the garlic you are buying in the store is from China. Not good. Why? You can read about it here...you'll be looking for another source directly afterward.|
|So many meals were literally straight from the gardens to the kitchen. Joy joy joy!|
I used to run a fruit and vegetable market on St. Croix and spent a good part of each delivery day with my staff cleaning, tossing out, and hoping to put our produce in good enough shape to still tempt the buyers. The pickers at the market in Florida knew they could send us whatever quality they wanted to send; what were we going to do, send it back?
How unlike that were the products our local farmers would bring in for my 'Local Organic' section: avocados, mangoes, ground provisions and more, beautifully ripened into the colors of living food, aromatic and delicious. Now I hear the local farmers there are thriving as are the markets, vegetables, meat, fruits raised with love and the hard work that goes with it rather than poisons. Everyone wins. Poco a poco...
Yesterday, I was reading an article about the government gathering all phone calls from Verizon, a leak of a 'program' that started a few months back, having an open door to run to July of this year. The article was not exactly startling as much as it was unsettling. What was startling were quite a few of the comments.
Many of them said exactly the same thing, 'I've got nothing to hide, I don't care.' I started thinking about the statement 'I don't care.' Caring implies doing something about what you care about, to keep whatever it is you care about as you believe it should be. Of course, that can lead to all sorts of things, blinding, obsessive fanaticism among them which is rarely a good thing. But I wondered just how much of the state of affairs that we live in, food and societally wise, is a result of 'I don't care.' Fast, fat producing meals packing on obesity, earbuds and electronic devices replacing conversation, exercise and social gatherings, bland, literally poisoned food, wars for oil, wars for diamonds, wars for water, decimating homes and lives for profit. 'I don't care, it doesn't affect me.' Really? Caring takes work and it seems we'd rather play, giving over our world to those who enjoy the profit and power of our carelessness.
Poco a poco. Many are working to change the direction, change the conversation, change the results. What will you do? What can you do? The old bumper sticker cliche' Think Globally, Act Locally still has true merit. That's all I know.
I'm challenging myself to get off my rear end and find out what Puerto Rico has to offer us, here on this tiny island. Vibra Verde is a huge step in the right direction, the veggie market, albeit filled with many un-local foodstuffs, at least is introducing vegetables into local lives.
~~~~~~~~~~~A group of us just got back from snorkeling. As we were gathering our things, talking about the beautiful underwater gardens (thank you, Mary Ann and kids, so many hands working together under the sea to restore its beauty and filtrations), the nurse shark, the eel, the rays, the fish, the turtles, our talk turned to food. Everything I spoke of above was the conversation and I'd not even mentioned (yet) what the subject of my blog post was today. Ideas and desires flew, tentative plans for gardens, for learning and observing trips were made. Others on Culebra are already doing things that we'll be finding out about, trying to co-ordinate what is available and known, what can be done, what we can do.
We love to eat! We love to eat good food. And we can. Poco a poco, we're on the path and the path is bright.
Have a focused frenzy of food fantasies Friday. Do something farsighted.