On an everyday joy.
April 27, 2011

Most days I think about this place and I have no idea what to write.  It’s ironic, really, because I was SO EXCITED to begin blogging about food: politics, culture, industry, gardening, homesteading, recipes, the whole nine yards.  And now I can’t think of anything to say.

When you’re in the midst of it, signing petitions against Monsanto and writing letters to the USDA and calling your congressional representatives to voice your opinion about food safety bills and reading about new food policies and digging trenches to avoid seasonal floods and learning the ropes on poultry ownership…it all seems very blasé.  Very uninteresting day-to-day stuff.

But every now and then, one day changes the way I view things and reignites my passion about food.

Yesterday became one of those days – and it happened in the blink of an eye.  One moment, it was a day like any other.  The next moment, somehow it was something special.

It was an ordinary moment as far as these things go: I looked across the yard and saw my child.  The same thing happens dozens of times every day.  But this time, when I saw my child, I really SAW her.  She was carrying a small metal bucket in one hand (filled with two seed packets, her garden spade, and a small tub of mealworms for the chickens) and a loquat she plucked from our tree in the other hand.  Juice was running down her arm from the loquat.  Our puppy was following her, tail wagging.  Several chickens were following her too, waiting for her to drop a chunk of loquat.

We were headed out to garden.  In the past few days, we’ve planted five eggplants, thirty tomato plants, thirty pepper plants, eleven strawberry plants, six zucchini plants, and nearly one hundred square feet of corn and beans.  In the next week or two, we will plant over fifteen hundred square feet of corn, beans, peas, radishes, heat-resistant greens, squash and gourds, melons, carrots, onions, and herbs.  And because we were headed out to garden, I was carrying a cotton bag of snacks to keep my daughter busy.  Besides the loquats, I also had stainless steel canteens of water and fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice, four tangerines from our yard, two hard-boiled eggs from our chickens, a handful of blackberries from our bramble, and a couple pieces of bread leftover from my husband’s holiday bake-a-thon last weekend.

Suddenly, looking at my daughter, the garden plan in my pocket and the snack bag in my hand, watching juice run down her arm and the bucket swing as she walked, I felt like this was something I never wanted to forget.

It’s not a loquat, but I didn’t take any pictures yesterday SOOOO! a pear will have to do.

Look at her, I thought to myself.  This everyday moment isn’t ordinary.  It’s special.  It shows that we’re passing along a passion for organic gardening, for safe food, for sustainable and community-oriented living.  It shows how far we’ve come, how much we’ve learned, and how much more we will grow and change along the way.  It shows that she is healthy, that she is loved, that she is confident and independent.  It shows that she has a connection to and respect for the Earth, that she takes joy in working her hands into the dirt, that she is growing up with an understanding of where her food comes from and a strong foundation in healthy eating habits.

It shows that we’re doing something right.

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  1. By christy on April 27, 2011

    great post!  i love seeing the “next generation” learning about gardening.  passing on the important stuff is what it’s all about.  p.s.  makes me want to get in my garden but i’d sink to my hips in mud if i tried.  still another month plus until we can plant all the things you are planting.

  2. By on April 27, 2011

    I can’t wait till we have a house of our own so I can garden like that. We have a few things in pots like my herb garden, but I want more.

    P.S. Whats a loquat?

  3. By on April 27, 2011

    What a wonderful post!  It has inspired me to make something fresh and wholesome for my son today!

  4. By Jamie on April 27, 2011

    Beautiful imagery! I can’t wait to have a child to share all that with… even if our garden is a simple 8x8 plot. It’s about doing what you can with what you have!

  5. By The Mommy Therapy on April 27, 2011

    A lot of something right. 

    Perhaps you would like to come over and take over our garden?  We can’t even figure out what was planted where.  I think perhaps our plotting was too directed by a 5 year old.

    Love thinking about all these things.  Great post.

  6. By on April 28, 2011

    My garden is much more simple then the one you describe. I’m still pretty much at the point where I’m growing what I need to grow for the season that I’m in - which means I depend on the farmer’s market and grocery store to supplement during the cold months around here quite a bit. Last summer, my garden was far from very successful and I feel like the small handfuls I was able to harvest was a disappointment - but a learning experience.

    But even still… every morning Jude and I would walk the distance around our yard, checking the blueberry bushes, the raspberry bushes, grape vines, peach tree and veggies. He’d pick things right off the vine and eat them… and it made me feel good about what we were doing. Something very small. Still in the very early stages of what will eventually (hopefully) be much more - but it’s something. It’s a step towards independence, toward teaching our kids where their food comes from and the labor it takes for it to get to us.

  7. By on April 28, 2011

    ... and Jude eats his pears the same way - from the bottom up.

  8. By on April 28, 2011

    Alicia, my cold weather garden completely failed.  We got alot of beets and radishes and that was really it.  The potatoes were eaten, the onions and garlic took longer than I thought, the parsnips and carrots never showed, the spinach was devoured by slugs, and pretty much everything else was washed out by the waterway and then taken over by moss (clay doesn’t drain well when that much flooding happens).

    This season, I’m determined to get everything going successfully because one of our local farmers recently admitted that the produce he sells at the farmer’s market isn’t always his.  He was getting it at a grocery and dumping it out in his boxes and jacking up the price and calling it his own.  I buy at the farmer’s market for a few reasons: a) I want to support local, b) and organic, c) and small business, and d) I’m trying to avoid food plastics.  That he was buying his produce elsewhere then repackaging it as his own undermined ALL of those reasons.  Now I want my garden to work more than ever because I no longer feel like I can trust any part of the food system.  I still go to the farmer’s markets, but I always feel like I’m just buying their produce with a grain of salt.

  9. By on April 28, 2011

    Sarah, I have a friend who’s husband is big into agriculture. He studied whatever-one-studies-to-become-a-farmer in school and they have lofty ambitions to buy a farm and do a wide range of different things with the land. As a result they are pretty active in the local farming community and I was shocked when we were talking about some Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs that basically do the same thing - supplement with food from elsewhere.

    With the amount of produce that Jude (and we) consume it’s often hard to keep up financially with only buying organic, but we try to do what we can with at least shopping locally during the spring and summer - visiting pick-ur-owns, local farms, etc.

    It’s nice to at least have an ‘in’ in the local farming community though to kind of get the dirty on who’s good, who’s bad and what’s just unavoidable when making choices about which farms to support. (for example - our farmer’s market sells Driscolli Strawberries in the orginal packaging… at least they’re not trying to hide it… )

  10. By Sarah Christensen on April 28, 2011

    Alicia - I think the key is the not-hiding-it part!  There is one CSA near here, but it’s a small place that doesn’t really have room for another family - and the only other CSAs are an hour out with no closer drop points.  The pastured meat orgs, organic dairies, and the pick-ur-owns are all an hour plus away too.  It drives me crazy!  We’ve thought about custom farm deliveries, which are more pricy but still more reasonable than buying from the farmer’s market every week and we can select the same growers be on our delivery group, etc, but it’s a bitch either way you slice it because you lose variety.

    I wish we had an in like yours =)  I can’t believe there are CSAs that supplement with food from elsewhere.  It defeats the point of the CSA, really.  I mean, you’re still supporting the local grower I suppose, but the part where you want to reduce the amount of fuel expended on your behalf or the amount of packaging and you want to know the person growing your food, etc, all of that is underminded when things like that happen.  I don’t get it.  I feel like people who are participants in a CSA program would probably understand if farmers were honest with them about low yields.

  11. By on April 28, 2011

    Sarah - I’m finding out now just how ideally we’re located! We are minutes from a number of farms (and even more within an hour’s drive) but we’re not in a rural area by any stretch of the imagination.

    Sounds like you really have big plans for your garden though! In which case, who needs local farmers (who may or may-not be supplementing from outside sources)?! J/K.





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