My family has been growing food, on a small scale, for four years now. This year’s growing season will be our fifth and it’s on a scale that we have never experienced before. We have 1200 delicious square feet to grow all the food our family will need (fingers crossed). I do anticipate a learning curve as we face the challenges of pests, drought, learning about our new property and dealing with large amounts of produce coming in all at once. I know it won’t be easy, but I’m ever so excited to tackle these roadblocks.
This year we are also supporting a local farm through the purchase of a CSA (community shared agriculture). Each week we get locally grown and raised food that is free from pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, cruelty and all those other nasties. I can’t even begin to thank Stubborn Farmer enough for their passionate view on food, their quality and their amazing customer service. If you live in the GTA I highly recommend them.
The acts of creating garden spaces, planting and tending to our crops, harvesting, preparing and storing food for over winter and eating local have left us with a deep gratitude and appreciation of where food comes from and the tremendous amount of work that goes into putting food on people’s plates.
Our society has lost sight of where our food really comes from and the work, time, cost and commitment it takes to get it to us. We take for grated the abundance our country provides us with and the vast array of choices – many of which don’t even grow here. We’ve come to expect grocery stores FULL of food and choice. We pass over perfectly good apples because they have a “bump” or “blemish”. And when it finally comes time to eat, we often do so in a hurry, not even paying attention to the amount we eat and how.
These trends have left our us tired, obese, diseased and sad. It has left us full of resentment at having to pay “that much” for a cabbage or a brick of organic local cheese. It leaves our children having no concept of where food comes from and what real food even tastes like. As a country we are experiencing heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer at epic proportions.
I’m not sure if being grateful for your food and being mindful of how you eat it will change all of that, but I have to believe that it is a step in the right direction. If we take the time, just a moment, to realize how very lucky we are to have three squares a day and a whole host of choices at our fingertips, we will be much better off. Trust me on that one. I’ve traveled to some of the poorest countries in South East Asia and even there, where children beg on the streets, people are more grateful than the average North American.
Doesn’t Have to Be Spiritual
“But I’m not really into praying…” That might be what you’re thinking right now; picturing families whispering a hushed prayer before eating their meal. While that is lovely and if you are drawn to that I encourage you to do so, being grateful for what you have doesn’t need to be a religious or spiritual act. Gratitude knows no Gods, deities or bounds. Taking a single moment to feel blessed to eat with people you love is the first step to a whole new view on food. Next you’ll be grateful for your body and then you’ll start thinking twice before eating a whole bag of salt and vinegar chips. Gratitude is infectious (the good kind… not the sneezey gross kind).
Our Little Ritual
It’s simple. No song and dance, no chanting or candles. We simply sit down to our meals and say “we are grateful for what we have and the food on our plates”. That act makes us realize what it is we are eating. I’ve noticed we slow down, we laugh and we enjoy our meal together far more than we did before. For me, as a former vegetarian who made the difficult choice to eat meat again, this is an absolute MUST. I am not only picky about what is on my plate; I’m picky about how it got there. There is a deep NEED to take a moment to recognize the level of sacrifice that was made to feed me and my family. There is no other way in my eyes. The moment I slip into thoughtless eating is the moment I stop eating meat for good. I pray that day never comes.
I live in farm country now and I grow food myself. I can say without a doubt, it is hard, hard work. But it’s good work that is rewarding and deeply fulfilling. A single moment in our busy lives to say thank you for what you have is a beautiful and easy change that everyone and each family can make. I encourage you to try.
And on that note I will say I am grateful to you for reading this and supporting my blog. This allows me to stay home and raise food for my family and for that I thank you very very much.