A Lost Art
Why don’t more people take ownership of their food? Growing food takes no more effort than growing grass or any other plant you put in your yard. It saves money. It protects you from pesticides. It provides exercise and brings your family together. It connects to you to ALL literature prior to the last 60 years. It tastes better and makes cooking more fun.
I think the answer is we don’t know how to do it. Its like building a rocket or a ballistic gel dummy on Mythbusters, we like it, we might even want to try it, but we don’t know how and it seems really complicated so we don’t do it. I think we over think it.
If we lived in any generation prior to the last three, farming would have been a skill essential to our survival. It would have been second nature to us and everything we knew would have revolved around it.
My grandparents, first removed from that essential generation, gardened. They canned, they saved seed. They made wine, jelly, and pancakes from scratch. They went fishing to fill the freezer. Not because they had to, but because it was how they grew up. They had access to a few conveniences, but they still did a lot for themselves. If you are as old as I am, your grandparents probably did too.
My mom would have a garden every spring. Not because she had to, but because it was how she grew up. She made us work with her at the farm co-op because her upbringing taught her to eat fresh and grow fresh. It was the 1960’s and the urban farming thing was on an upswing. (I still love those sesame candies). We ate some things from the store, but she was very concerned about sugars and where food came from. She never made jelly or wine, but she always made dinner from scratch. If you are my age, your mom probably did too.
Most people my age do not garden or can. They might have an herb garden. They can make some things from scratch, but the majority do not do this on a daily basis, it is more of a special occasion thing, like for Christmas. I know very few people my age who can butcher an animal or clean a fish.
My oldest son’s generation was raised food illiterate. They ate pop tarts and sugar cereal. The funny thing is they are the age group I see the most represented at farmer’s markets, food co-ops, and gardening workshops. For some reason, they know this is an essential missing skill. Does nature reset it self, or is this just a basic need raising its head?
My question though, is why is this not taught in public school? Who decided we were too advanced to need to know this? I would think that knowing how to make food grow would be the most primary functional skill you could teach a child. Not that you have to use it every day, but in the event of, I don’t know:
War? Natural disaster? Economic problems?
It might be a good thing to have under your belt. Sort of like math. We might not use it all the time, but it is still a good thing to know.
It should not become a lost art.