Gear Up for Next Summer: Plan to Grow Your Own Food

We just pulled the very first of our garlic and potatoes from the food garden. The whole house is filled with the fragrance. Growing your own garlic is easy, and tastes better than anything you’ll ever buy.

I had an interesting convo with one of my blog followers this morning. We talked about food gardening and self-sustainability. It brought me back to my college days, when my thinking about food and where it comes from started to shift. It was a series of little awakenings over the course of a few years that made me finally decide that I would grow as much of my own food as possible.

New England’s growing season is all too short. It won’t be too long now that I’ll be back buying fruits and veggies from the local organic market. And while organic, GMO-free market food beats corporate supermarket food by a country mile, there’s nothing at all like controlling what you eat by simply growing it yourself.

Let’s get real about this: supermarkets are a sham. Stroll through any one and you’ll be submerged in products and promotions that blare images of farms and farmers, happy cows and free-range chickens, spring-pure water, immaculate vegetables and fruits, and cruelty-free animal products – a contradiction in terms if I ever heard one. It’s a world of pretty fantasies that baits and fools us.

The reality is that there are no farms behind these foods. Only factories. As more and more technology has been applied to the production of food, farms have fallen away and been replaced by about four huge, global, corporate food producers, all of whom generate their products in industrial facilities.

The industrial food system, with its one and only goal of financial gain gotten through the production of as much low-grade food as inexpensively as possible, thrives behind a veil that has been placed between us and them, the source of our food.

This veil is in place because if people saw how their food is produced, there would be an uproar that would threaten this system’s profit margin. From the abject horrors, misery, filth, and disease of the slaughterhouse and dairy and egg facilities to fields of recklessly genetically modified, pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables, there would be very few of us who wouldn’t demand big changes in our food options.

Have you noticed that there are no seasons at the supermarket? You can buy a tomato in January in Connecticut. Or a watermelon, cucumber, or summer squash. I don’t have to tell you that these tomatoes, which are GMO and raised on pesticides and fungicides, were harvested, unripe and green, thousands of miles away a month ago, doused with ethylene gas to force a faux ripening, then waxed to a high shine.

This is not a tomato. It’s a notional tomato, the idea of a tomato. It’s the illusion of a tomato. And besides its fraudulence, it’s bereft of any kind of nutrition, and furthermore, dangerous to eat.

Pushing the veil aside and looking directly into this greed-driven and irresponsible industrial food system is not fun or easy. But I recommend it wholeheartedly.

You’ll have to change your eating and buying. You’ll need to start growing and eating your own food in spring, summer, and autumn, and do without the rest of the year. You’ll gorge on nutritious, fresh tomatoes from your GMO-free, pesticide-free gardens from July to September or October, and then have no more tomatoes until the following July.

You’ll learn to eat with the rhythms of the Earth. You’ll discover what food is supposed to taste like and do for your body. You’ll eat fresh food that contains the minerals and vitamins it’s supposed to.

In winter, you will, like me, compromise this a bit, and buy organic and as local-as-possible fruits and veggies. Your nutritional intake will wane some in winter, then amp up in summer. You’ll get used to famines and feasts, which is in fact the natural tempo of eating.

Check out the excellent film, “Food, Inc.” for a close look at the industrialized food system that feeds us most if not all of what we eat, and the seen and unseen consequences of this system that gives us what looks like food, but is not. Pseudo-food is not food. Dairy and meat production facilities are hells on earth for animals and humans. Grow as much of your own food as you can. Supplement at local, organic markets.

Live in peace.

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