It is now May and my thoughts are shifting towards starting my first raised bed vegetable garden.
Although I am blessed with a boyfriend that does have a knack for growing tomatoes (he “stopped counting” after he hit 200 cherry tomatoes last summer), I by no means can even pretend to be an expert in the realm of vegetable gardening.
Nonetheless, I am excited to put myself up to this challenge for many reasons. It will be a fun hobby, I will have the freshest vegetables, and most importantly, it will further my appreciation of the food I am eating.
Although it is oft forgotten or even overlooked entirely, food arriving at your table takes so much more effort than just stopping at the store or opening a package. In America, most of us have it easy. If we need food, we run to the grocery store. There are cleaned, sectioned, and packaged meats, poultry, and fish available, eggs and milk waiting inside cartons in the refrigerated section, a wide variety of grains, pastas, rice, cereals, and bread ready to be brought home, exotic fruits, colorful vegetables and even fresh herbs just sitting there asking to be bagged. Not to mention all the candy, granola bars, chips, popcorn, crackers, et cetera that line the shelves. It’s definitely fair to say that in this day and age in America it is easy to fail to notice where our food really comes from.
With this neglect we think of food in a completely different manner than our ancestors did. Food is no longer a precious commodity that sustains life. It is now an endless resource that can be bought cheap and consumed in mass amounts quickly and mindlessly.
One thing that has stayed consistent though is the fact that food is a source of pleasure. The enjoyment food can bring should never go away. In fact, it should be magnified. Eat slowly and allow yourself to taste all of the innate flavors of the food, the spices and herbs used to complement it, the varying textures, the feeling it has inside of your stomach, the fullness, satisfaction, and energy it offers. You will find once you start appreciating your food you will start to fully experience what food has to offer – potentially carrying you to a whole new level of food nirvana.
You will also learn how the food makes you feel. Eating fresh nutrient rich foods that also offer you amazing flavors makes you feel so much better than a greasy hamburger prepared from frozen patties at a fast food restaurant. Eating with the full experience in mind will inadvertently change the way you cook, eat, and look at food. It can really help shift towards a healthier lifestyle.
I challenge you to discover and recognize the connection of farm to table by starting your own vegetable garden, visiting a farmers market, or even stopping by your local Great Harvest where we can show you how we turn wheat berries from wheat stalks into fresh whole grain flour, and then mix with honey, yeast, water, and salt to create delicious whole grain bread.
Sprouting plant: OakleyOriginals via photopin cc
Gardening: jane boles via photopin cc