Food Just Is

GarlicSlices

Grow a variety of food, and you begin to realize that food just is. Like the air, it’s all around us. You don’t stop and think where you are going to get your next breath of air. You don’t go shopping for it. Everywhere you walk, air is all around you, and no one is charging you for it.

For most of life on earth, food is like air. It’s just there. An earthworm digging its way through the earth finds things to eat everywhere. Herons don’t go shopping for food. They go from pond to pond, field to field, finding food everywhere.

The handful of garlic I’m chopping for dinner is like that. I have a basket full of garlic left over from all the garlic I pulled this summer. It didn’t cost me a penny. It didn’t even take a lot of time and effort. Garlic is as alive as you are. Stick a clove of garlic in the ground in the fall, and next summer, you’ll have a full bulb of it.

Most of the garlic I harvested this summer, I ended up planting, but there is plenty left over to last until next summer. It’s that way with the chicken and eggs. They aren’t things to buy. They are just things that are there. The same with all the various greens in their season.

For most of humanity, food is no longer something that just is. You can grow very little food in a small apartment on the 35th floor of a tower. Most people now live in cities so dense and vast, it’s inconceivable for them to imagine living surrounded by food growing for the taking. It’s something that you have to buy, something you have to work for. It’s become the product of some company, stuff that comes wrapped in plastic, packaged in boxes or cans, it’s no longer something that is part of your surrounding environment like air.

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