View from the Dykes

harvest1

Something exciting was happening up at The Lorax this past weekend. For two days over a hundred people came together to share in discussions and to participate in workshops surrounding food, lifestyle and sustainability. It is the second year of the New Farmers Gathering and by all accounts it was a great success.
It was only last year that I started growing my own food. Not in any great capacity as the garden space I am using is fairly modest. But it was enough to experience firsthand what it was like to plant a seed and watch it grow. And then to grow some more. And then to eventually see it bear fruit or leaves or berries that I could pick and eat directly.
It was honestly one of the most satisfying projects I have ever taken on. There are some very deep messages revealed  in the process of growing your own food.  Even now I am still discovering powerful metaphors that hold some great truth. I am starting to think that all the answers to the universe might be right there in the garden if we were to take enough time to really pay attention.
What it did for me was to complete the circle in my relation to food and the environment. This took me by surprise as I didn’t realize there was that much of a gap to be filled. I have always been satisfied with buying my food at the store and taking it home to prepare. But the day I had my first salad of handpicked greens and herbs my life changed forever. There is nothing like fresh food straight from the earth.
And while some it comes down to flavor and freshness there is a more valuable connection that came about. Most importantly it brought about awareness. It made me think about where the food came from, how it was grown, what sort of magic brought about the eventual bounty.
There is a lot of disconnect in our society. And in regards to food we have gone so far away from our roots. Look at any culture around the world and you will find that food is one of the most important things that define them. How they grow it, what they do with it, and the rituals surrounding it.
Coming together with so many people over the last few days gave me a sense of hope. We didn’t come up with any solid answers. We didn’t solve our food problems. And maybe there are even more questions now than ever.
But we did come together and learn from each other. We ate food that we helped prepare (even slaughtering our own chickens for Sunday’s lunch). And we were reminded that people really do care and that things are changing. Where that change is going is still to be determined.  Until then, may we all eat well, appreciate the food we have (and the farmers who make it), and create the time to share with family and friends. Cheers!

~Adam Barnett