Do you feel a connection to your food? For some years now, even before we began this homestead life, I have tried to become much more conscious about what it took for that food to reach my plate. Be it an animal product or produce- there was a person, often many, behind the success of that product. Shelter, food, water, nutrients & care were all required and were provided from “birth” to harvest time.
I have had these thoughts each time we have harvested a pig, a chicken, a thanksgiving turkey, eaten an egg laid by our hens or when we harvest produce from the garden. Lately I have been harvesting chamomile from the garden every other day. It’s somewhat tedious and takes some time as the blooms are small and the plant is large, clipping hundreds of flowers a few times a week to dry for future cups of tea. As I work, I keep thinking to myself- it’s not just the big things like a pork chop, a rotisserie chicken or a dozen eggs we should pause and think about how it arrived to be in our kitchen. It’s the small things too, ones that don’t even cross our minds that also matter, like a nightly cup of chamomile tea or a glass of wine. How were those things grown? Are they good quality? Were they hand or machine harvested?
When you experience the process in its entirety, raising an animal for meat or planting a vegetable seed to harvest months later for dinner, you realize all that goes into it. So next time you see meat on sale for $0.29/pound or produce on sale for $0.10/pound, pause and wonder what kind of life did it have. Was it a good life? Something of high quality that you are proud to feed your family? Or did it have a sad life? I can appreciate that not all families are able to afford to buy 100% organic and pasture raised products or shopping at Whole Foods, that’s not the point though. The point is, being conscious of how your meal arrived onto your plate and appreciating all of the work and life that went into it to sustain you. By becoming more aware the moral question changes from “why is this so expensive??” to “why is this so cheap?” Food for thought.