Why I can.

Farming is a revolution.

When I think that I am canning and growing my own food, there is a sense of pride. When I go to the Farmer’s Market and purchase food directly from the farmer, there is a level of “stickin’ it to the man”!

I am a naturally anxious person. I remember when I lived in Brooklyn wondering what would happen if a disaster hit. Would I run to the local deli and stock up on jugs of water and cheetos? The apartment was so small I couldn’t grow any plants on the fire escape (and my neighbors used that as a mode of transportation anyways). I remember freaking out when I thought about the poor air quality. Would I get cancer from drinking water? I knew nothing of my building! Are the pipes lead? Who knows!

I’m sure many of my worries are insane. NYC has some of the best water in the state! But something in me wanted to be able to grow her own food and can it. There is a level of pride I feel when I take a jar out of the canner. And a sigh of relief when I hear the seal pop.

But when you think about it, it is kind of scary that we rely so much on stores to provide for us. It’s so unnatural to walk in and hunt for deals when our genetics tell us we should be hunting animals or pulling tomatoes off vines.

As I rooted around the garden yesterday I laughed. I’m hunched over with a basket trying to navigate the mess (because I once again planted them too close together). I felt so animal like as I looked to my left and saw my dog doing the same thing.

I don’t want to have to rely on the grocery store. I don’t want to purchase what they sell me. I want a choice. I want the freedom to grow and raise something and know what it is planted in or eating. Our bulls? They literally only eat grass and whatever else they find in the pasture. They don’t get oats or corn and never live long enough to eat the hay we harvest (which is just the grass they’ve been eating all summer).

But when I walk into a store and read a label, these companies don’t really have to tell us much. “Spices”. What does that even mean? I found that some people are even allergic to certain spices! And where was it grown? How were the employees who harvested these ingredients treated?

We’ve become so detached. We want all the options and we want them cheap. And there is a push for “natural” and “organic”–but we don’t want the price to go up. But that causes the farmers, soil, animals, and workers to suffer.

So I am trying to avoid the whole mess! I know I probably won’t be 100% successful, but I want to do what I can! And this also means I don’t have the deal with all the plastic packaging. Reducing my carbon footprint has been an interest/obsession of mine for a few years now.

I can’t do it all. And there are many factors that will determine my failure or success. If it’s a dry season, or cold like this one has been, my plants will either thrive or die. There are some things I cannot grow and therefore either have to go without or purchase it in the best quality we can afford. (Example being Olive Oil.)

I do hate the idea of being trapped with food. Having to rely on stores or companies I don’t agree with just to put a meal on the table–but this is the world we have created. So now, the challenge is to be able to change our world. One meal at a time.

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