Friday, 3 October 2014

Eating in season.

It's that time of year that the air shifts ever so slightly, and there is a coolness that is now present. This past summer, when it was hotter and muggier than many of us would like, I had the privilege of working in a local garden that provided food for local food banks as well as offered the opportunity for people in the neighbourhood to take home fresh vegetables with them.

As I learned about suckering tomatoes, how to harvest red cabbage, and that although carrot tops might look like parsley they are really not and don't need to be harvested, my idea of food and what we eat broadened. I was struck with how I never stopped to think what a broccoli plant looked like. Some would call this privilege, but in reality I am missing out on something big. At the risk of overstatement, I think I've missed a huge part of human experience - I have not grown up with a concept of food as something that the land yields. It is something I can seek out, at any time, with relative convenience. We do not see food as a gift, but rather a commodity.

Being disconnected from creation is more than simply not being able to enjoy the fresh air, or eating healthier food, but to be separated from certain rhythms of life that are so important for how we see things, what we expect, and how we interact with each other - everything.

I don't know how to make do with the food that is available November through March in Southern Ontario. But - is that too simplistic? We don't live in a world where I need to can everything I need to eat over the winter, and global economies rely on exports and all that. So should I continue eating bananas all through the winter? Is it an important practice to abstain just to be in tune with the rhythm of what I am being offered - to really, truly know that I am not owed easy transportation, simple and affordable food whenever and wherever I am?