Spring is here! Buds are swelling, bird-songs are clear, and the predictably unpredictable weather of Northwest Ohio has begun.
One promise of the new season is the ability to grow and harvest our own fresh food. I like to think of this as an ‘underground’ revolution taking place in backyards everywhere.
My connection with clean organic food started when I was a child and my mother suddenly replaced our Wonder Bread with whole wheat, put turbinado sugar in the bowl, and swapped our beloved Nestles Morsels for carob chips. I remember shopping at the health food co-ops of the 70’s, despite the fact that my father owned a chain of supermarkets. I also remember vowing that when I had my own home, I would never have sugar that didn’t dissolve or chocolate chips that didn’t taste like chocolate!
But today, as a mother, gardener, urban farmer, citizen, and chef’s wife, my connection to food has come full circle. Conversations about food, gardening, or health invariably involve me extolling the importance and relevance of clean food.
And I’m not alone.
People have emancipated themselves from the tyranny of factory farms. Chicken coops and bee hives are showing up in backyards and city plots, and on the tops of buildings in the middle of downtown USA. The explosion of sold out CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), the increase of home-grown gardens, and the surge of so many young people choosing an agrarian way of life are sure signs that the food revolution that began when I was a child is underway again.
Why is urban agriculture enjoying a resurgence? I believe it is because the connection to the land that we all share has been rediscovered. When you grow food yourself, you personally participate in the miracle of the cycle of life. Everything plays a part: the sun, the rain, the soil, even the bugs. When you walk to the garden with your basket and pruners, clip a few fresh vegetables and herbs for the day’s meal, you know what has gone – and NOT gone – into that food. It’s clean. It’s safe. And it’s yours! With so many variables that can affect our health and that of our family, this is one we can control. You can grow the varieties and types of veggies, herbs, and fruit that you and your family love. THAT is providing for your family. Best of all, it gives you a sense of accomplishment that’s as deeply rooted as our personal freedom.
I encourage you to take up your hoe, pitchfork optional, plan that vegetable plot, grow a bit of your own food, and claim victory in your personal liberty! Viva la bean!