Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Begin at the beginning

I've been trudging through The End of Food by Paul Roberts as the starting point for the literary side of my garden education. The End of Food takes a look at the national and international food system, delving into its history and outlining its current weaknesses and failings. It's rough going - the book is confirming facts I already suspected/knew about the food industry/system, but does so through VERY. THOROUGH. reporting. Not the easiest read.

The End of Food did, however, get me thinking about my passion for just food. My path began at the beginning. Food has always, always been important to my family. My mother is an excellent daily cook, with tried and true recipes for everyday life. My father is an excellent gourmet cook, with recipes for weekends and special occasions. We don't just eat food, we EAT FOOD. We love it. When I was growing up, we hardly had any processed foods in our house. We rarely went out to eat and rarely had tv-dinner nights. A love for food was instilled into my brothers, my sister and me.

Fast-forward to April of 2009. I was sunk deep in the misery of post-high-school-graduation food habits, despite the fact that I had graduated high school 6 years earlier. My freezer was packed with delicacies such as chicken nuggets, corn dogs and fries. These were supplemented with excellent culinary choices including Kraft mac n' cheese, Pop Tarts and Hamburger Helper. It was easy, I wasn't visibly unhealthy, why not?

Then, on a day in April, I picked up a copy of
The Local Table, a Nashville publication about Middle TN agriculture. I settled in with a cup of Mexican hot chocolate at Ugly Mugs and opened the magazine. I read about young farmers in the Middle Tennessee area. These people were no different than me - they came from non-farming backgrounds, yet discovered a passion for good food and good agricultural practices and dived in headfirst.

That magazine sparked something wonderful. Over the spring and across the summer, I walked down a new path. I started to experiment with cooking. I became a regular at the East Nashville farmers market, every Wednesday from 3-6. I watched
Food, Inc. and learned about the corruption that makes up the food industry. I gradually eased into vegetarianism, at first attempting to hold on to my favorite meat addiction by being a Chick-fil-a-tarian then finally embracing the new mindset that came with that dietary choice. I visited a small local farm and began to buy a CSA (community supported agriculture) share from that farm. I bought less processed food, buying organic-only and mainly from local grocery stores. I not only ate food, but I thought about food. I not only thought about food, I thought about those whose blood, sweat and tears went into its creation.

And I talked talked talked about what I was learning, the new things I was seeing. In doing so I discovered that so many people I knew had similar desires to see our food system change, similar fascination with the natural things we have so fallen out of touch with. Things are changing in a very exciting way. I'm not the only one, there are people before and after me on this path that I am so blessed to be on.

It is not a coincidence that I picked up that magazine so unsuspectingly. It is not a coincidence that this passion for just food has been sparked. This seed was planted with as much thought and care as the seeds we will bury in the garden this spring. All I can do is give thanks and reap the rewards that are already pouring into my life in such abundance.

This new way of looking at life is a blessing I do not take for granted. It is part of the gospel of the Lord's goodness, of His careful crafting of the world for our benefit, of His nourishment of our bodies and souls - it is this gospel I want to communicate to those whose lives touch my own.

1 comment:

justin.owings said...

another great post kirsten. good job. good connection between the importance of not just eating, but also thinking about eating--something we all need to a little more of.