Growing your own food is such a simple idea. It makes sense that people should try to be more self-sufficient, self-sustaining and simplistic in this multi-national, corporate owned, complex world. And what could be simpler than having a garden?
Of course, supporting a local C.S.A. farm (Community Supported Agriculture), farmer’s market and food co-op are great ideas. However, people can make the origins of their produce even simpler by taking matters into their own hands and growing food in their own yard or community garden plot. Growing your own food is empowering in many ways: you know exactly where it’s coming from and you are, in many ways, connected to it. Also, you can spend some time doing fruitful labor outside, instead of going to the stuffy indoor gym to climb plastic Stairmasters to nowhere. Gardening on a smaller scale can be much more efficient and sustainable compared to large-scale farming. In your garden, you most likely won’t be using fossil fuel-eating tractors. And, of course, the food tastes much better!
Somehow, between the dusty, dirty, muddy fields and the pretty produce displays, the connection between food and its cultivation gets lost. In this age of machines, I think we forget that they cannot do everything on a farm that needs to be done. I somehow thought that organic meant no migrant labor, but I’ve seen it at some of the farms I’ve visited. There are still fields full of people hoeing weeds, trimming orchard branches and harvesting produce, all in ten-plus hour days.
Often times, large-scale farms not only exploit their workers, but also waste food. Farmers toss radishes back to the ground because they’re not perfect enough for the restauranteurs to whom they deliver. I’m happy the food is going back into the earth, but it would make me happier to see every last bite of it going into people’s mouths.
One last thing to think about is how far your food has to travel to get to you, and all the energy and fossil fuels going into its transport. By growing your own food, you’re making a commitment to eating locally and seasonally, which is a great thing.
I highly recommend you visit a local organic farm yourself. To all of you who do grow some of your own food already, keep up the amazing work! If you don’t, for the sake of you, simplicity, sustainability, Mama Earth and the backs of farm workers everywhere, grow your own food! It’s easy. You don’t need a green thumb, just some sunlight and water.
Editors: Eleise Jones, Ruminator Review & Jason Eden