February 17, 2008

Knowing where your food comes from

When I saw Barbara Kingsolver read from her book, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" last spring, she made a comment roughly to the effect that giving up knowledge of where your food comes from is a really stupid thing, biologically speaking, for an animal to do. And we've all done it, given ourselves over to factory farms and multinational food conglomerates. We can't identify the ingredients in our foods, we don't know where they've come from or how they got there.

We're slowly backing out of that mess at our house. Bit by by, we're learning where our food comes from, knowing who grows it, incorporating that knowledge in to our eating habits. I've been doing it for the health of my children and the planet they will inherit from me. It's all big, heady, theoretical stuff.

Then the other night at the dinner table, we hit a new low with the 4 year-old. He wouldn't eat his spinach. We were at the end of our patience with his fouryearoldness already, and Not Eating Greens was the last straw. A series of threats ensued, all of which were futile, as that kind of desperation always is. Then, and I'm not proud of this from a parenting standpoint, but am quite satisfied that the message is solid, I said: "Nigel worked hard to grow this for you." Up opened the trap, in went the spinach. No hesitation, no questions. (No questions for a 4 year-old being a feat.)

He's met Nigel twice, once at a strawberry picking event and once at an overnight campout at the farm. It doesn't hurt that Nigel has two, ten year-old boys himself. Still, I'm in awe that his impression of the farm was enough to get him out of his funk and put those vegetables in his mouth. Makes me think there is something intrinsic in knowing our food sources and to respecting the labor that brings it to our table.

1 comment:

Anne Marie said...

I think your blog is very unique! There should be more resources out there for CSA share holders for recipes, and ideas for what to do with all that wonderful produce! My husband and I just started a CSA this year; www.nadafarm.org and would love to have you come on over to the web-site to see our recipes and such.....think spring! and keep up the good work with knowing where your food comes from- I will be back to visit your site!! Peace. Anne Marie