I went out to the garden today and harvested enough broccoli for seven people to eat for dinner. Given the space the plants take and how little they produced I think we won't be growing it again, but it is still wonderful to be able to just go outside our door and find something good for dinner.
We've tried a lot of different foods in the garden, and our best successes remain the somewhat mundane tomatoes, lettuce, peppers and herbs. And I never eat anything from the garden without being thankful - thankful for the soil, the sun, the rain, and the gift of food.
But there are obvious limits to what I can grow in a few square feet on the side of my house. And there are even bigger seasonal limitations. When I think about how our ancestors managed to maintain some semblance of a balanced diet by preserving foods for the winter (without the benefit of refrigeration!) I am awed. Of course, when I also realize how relatively brief their lives were, and how much poor nutrition played a role in that, I am even MORE grateful.
We don't think about farmers much. The disconnect between growing food and eating it is very, very big in these times. We go to the grocery store and buy foods like mangoes that cannot be grown in our climate at all. We eat meat without ever having seen a living steer or chicken. We eat bread without any grasp at all of how much work it is to grow and harvest wheat, let alone thresh and grind it. But imagine how little time we would have to pursue our daily work if we had to grow and preserve all our own food. Imagine if we had to grow our own linen and cotton. Imagine if we had to provide our own fuel from what we could find on the land.
Farmers. I'm grateful.