Driving past an elementary school in my neighborhood this evening I saw raised garden beds filled with corn, tomatoes, peppers and greens of every kind. These beds were spread throughout the playground, butting up to the monkey bars and swing sets. The gardens and play equipment seemed to be the perfect intermingling of entertainment and education. I love that gardens seem to be cropping up in urban spaces more and more often, helping people learn about and think about what they eat and where it comes from.
Growing up I knew where my food came from, technically, but I never gave it much thought. Meat was from animals, fruit and vegetables from the earth, but how these things found their way to the cans and bags in our cabinets and refrigerator wasn’t something I gave any thought. Really, what kid would? Only after college, when I began to have the luxury of extra time and money, did I really begin to think about and explore food in an entirely different way.
Regan and I love food. We aren’t consumers of much besides food. We’ll gladly pass on updating our wardrobes, upgrading our cell phones, going out to dinner with friends to a place we’ve already been or even getting a second car just so we can have the money we need to spend on the foods we so desire. We get our meat and cheese from Goose the Market and our produce from Green B.E.A.N. Delivery. We avoid grocery stores whenever we can and instead focus on those businesses that make connections with local farmers and focus on sustainable and organic farming. And I’m so glad we do.
Currently I’m reading Marion Nestle’s book, What to Eat. So far it’s an absolutely amazing read. Nestle has carefully gathered information and insights about why we as a nation eat the way we do. She explains the excess, the overwhelming selection and why these factors make eating healthy and making the right choices so difficult. The more I read, the happier I am we are able to shop and eat the way we do. I am well aware it’s a luxury that we can spend the time and money we do on food. Also, I’m not saying that I haven’t walked into Target and walked out with a bag of Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup flavored chips just because. But I would encourage everyone to spend a little more time with their food — whether enjoying it while tasting every bite of a snack or meal, or taking the time to enjoy the process of growing it or even getting to know the farmers who work tirelessly to make sure our bellies are full. There is so much satisfaction to find as you spend more time with food, even something as simple as freshly harvested basil from the back yard.
What do you most enjoy about food?