If you ask a kid where food comes from, they are likely to answer, “From the grocery store.” And, why would the answer any differently?
Most kids have never seen beyond final stage in the life-cycle of say, a bag of carrots. In fact, they have no idea that there is a life cycle, only that a big bag of carrots is readily available in the produce section of the local Publix for a few dollars.
I think kids need to know where their food come from. We need to know our farmers. The only way to do that is to eat locally. (If you’re looking for a great resource on how to get started, visit my sister Mary’s blog for some excellent advice.)
Our desire to eat locally, eat more healthfully, and to understand better where our food comes from led us to join a CSA through Beaverdam Creek Farm this year. I’ve already written about the lessons our weekly basket of vegetables has taught us about life here.
As CSA shareholders, we decided to go visit “our farm” this week and get to know “our farmers,” the Lingos. They graciously welcomed us to their beautiful piece of land, and gave us a sneak peak into what goes into our weekly bushel full of veggies.
Here’s what I learned:
1. The farming life is a lot of hard work
The Lingos were hard at work when we arrived at the farm. As far as I can tell, they only take Sundays off. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, they weed their plots, tend the vegetables, and do farm projects. Monday, Wednesday and Fridays are harvesting days. Saturday they go to the Farmer’s Market to distribute baskets to their shareholders. It’s a lot of work.
2. Farmers are more aware of their dependence on God than the rest of us
While we were at the farm, Trish Lingo, one of our farmers, talked a lot about how the weather and other environmental factors impact their harvest. Lately, it got too hot too fast and some of their spring crops never made it to maturity. Others did better than expected.
She said she has never prayed more in her life than after she and her husband Phillip became farmers. She prays over the crops because she knows that her part—the planting and cultivating—are a small part of what it takes to make them grow. Farming is a humbling endeavour.
3. When you know your farmer you are more grateful for your food
I left the farm feeling incredibly grateful for what God provides in our basket each week. I’m thankful for the sun and the rain that came in the last few days and for the soil. And, I’m thankful for the hours and hours of hard, hot labor the Lingos spent tending and harvesting our veggies.
Our weekly basket of vegetables does not come to us through impersonal commercial farming means. It comes to us from real people who care about us and who care about the food they give us. My gratitude to them, and to God, makes it seem wrong to waste anything from our CSA basket. (hmm, metaphor for life?) I want to use it all, and offer it back to God with thanksgiving for what he has provided.
Bottom line: knowing your farmer will change your life.