“We cared so little about how crops were grown, as long as our bread was cheap, that we ignored them being doused in poisons… We didn’t think it was our job to know or care. We were too busy doing other things…Only now are we slowly awaking from this comfortable coma to realize that we are a long way from the fields that feed us and from knowing enough to make good choices.” Pastoral Song by James Rebanks
This year the flowers in my vegetable garden did better than my vegetable. The Morning Glories, which in past years hardly grew at all have overcome the sunflowers, and earlier in the summer the hollyhocks filled the garden with white, pink, and deep red flowers.
On Saturday I harvested the soup beans that I grew from seeds that Marsha sent me. I brought in the delicata squash that fell from the vines as I weeded around them. I pulled up one dying tomato plant and left two more with green fruit to ripen. I trimmed back the snail eaten kale and made room for the lush Parsley to take up as much space as it wants.
I don’t need to grow vegetables.
We are surrounded by farmers, selling anything I can grow even better and inexpensively. But I was reminded of one of the reasons I do have a vegetable garden when I broke open the shells of the red and white beans that grew in my garden.
I filled a small bowl with the beans that took over three months and my time and energy to grow. One small bowl, the equivalent of a can and a half of beans that I’d otherwise buy in the grocery store.
Looking at my beans, reminded me of how I take food for granted. Of how even though I live in farm country when I open a can of beans, I never think of how much work went into it. Of how long it took for them to get from the soil they were planted in, to my plate.
But I do always have the expectation that those cans of beans will be on the shelf in the store when I want them.
So when I sat down to cut away the bruises and insect holes and to peel the apples that I’ve been collecting from our MacIntosh tree this afternoon, it wasn’t just about making applesauce because I like to eat it. I was making a moral decision not to waste the food that was literally in my backyard.
And it turned out, it was also a practice of gratitude. Not just for those apples but in a broader sense. A recognition of the blessing of all the good food that is available to me year-round and that I can easily afford to buy.