If you had told me 25 years ago that making food for a lot of people was in my future, I’d have, if not laughed in your face, at least told you you had your facts wrong. Cooking for others would’ve seemed too trad fem for someone raised in a feminist household, and 25 years ago I was on my way to pursuing a butch-enough profession (architecture). “Nursing and teaching were the only professions open to me, and I didn’t like bedpans,” my mother often said. “You should do something I could not,” and so I did.
Yet here I am, scurrying about on a Monday morning, assembling four boxes for my CSA customers and sticking 12 loaves of bread into a carrier to take to our daughter’s school for the kids’ mid-morning snack. Food growing and making IS a large part of my life, at least as big a part as my code books and my drawings. And like making buildings, making food is terribly enjoyable to me…and I happen to be fairly good at both.
Like most transformations, my shift from either/or to both was gradual. Certain imperatives hastened my decisions, of course: our move from our small city lot to five country acres; parenthood; global warming/climate change: the world is small, and growing more crowded daily. This is the world I am handing my child, and it’s a world with many problems.
So I can show her that consuming less is a laudable goal…and it’s hard in a culture that only celebrates “more.” But I can also show her that one can be a producer, too. Whether it’s just for ourselves or (at this point) six other families, I can demonstrate that quality home-grown food can be made (despite? in addition to?) while someone has a full-time job. And yes, it might mean that she helps too, and her dad as well.
But what I am also trying hard to demonstrate to her, and to you, is that the world is going to need a lot more people like me who’re willing to produce food for themselves, and eventually for others. The transformation might be gradual. But we’ll certainly be eating better food…and better serving our earth and each other.
Viva la revolucion, gardeners!