Know thy food

I walked down the isles at our local Sprouts grocery store enthralled at the bountiful display of our ability to grow, harvest, raise, package, manipulate, cook, and preserve for later use. Taking advantage of the multitudes and variety of sustenance that most of us have to do little more than walk down an isle and pick up whatever we desire.

The one thing that kept nagging at me as I perused the produce and watched my other fellow consumers pick and choose what goes into their baskets was,

Do any of us really know where these things, that we can so easily take or discard, come from?

Are so many people passing up that eggplant or acorn squash simply because they have know idea what it is, or how it can be used?

and more importantly, Could any of us actually procure, produce, or know how/where to get these things that magically appear before us just a short car ride away?

Seriously, have you ever grown your own tomatoes, or milked a cow, or even butchered your own livestock instead of picking up that neatly and cleanly packaged chicken?

Although followers of Christ are commanded and given the duty of subduing and stewarding well the world we were given, I don’t think you have to be a follower to understand and agree that we do have that charge.  Yet how many of us have taken an active part in this besides having an Aloe plant in our home (but probably never using it) or buying organic and free range food (but not know what that actually means or entails)?

I was fortunate enough to have been raised with a Grandfather who was an avid gardener, a Father who took us hunting and taught us to clean and eat what we killed, and have even done a bit of gardening with my wife (at her prompting) for the past couple of years.

However, this does not make me fully knowledgeable of my world, or even a good steward of it.  But it is an attempt, and I am always seeking out knew ways to better understand the world I live in and use.  One of those opportunities came yesterday when I milked a cow for the first time.  I did not even get to milk her for my benefit, but for hers, as she recently had a calf and one of her utters was blocked but still producing milk.

This experience, as with most in life, truly cannot be expressed or understood fully until you yourself are literally using your own hands to do the work.  No amount of Netflix documentaries, or YouTube video can accurately capture the knowledge, skill, excitement, and respect you gain from doing these type things first hand.

I say all this, not merely as a chastisement of us (myself included) or our culture, but as encouragement to stop being the blind consumer happily grabbing up our food at the store without even a seconds thought of its origin, and learn.  Learn where it is we get the food we enjoy, learn how to get it for yourselves or even develop a better more sustainable way to get it, learn to respect and understand just how that mouthwatering steak gets to your plate.  

I can almost 100% guarantee you this: through this knowledge, understanding, respect, and experience you will come to have an even more fulfilling enjoyment when you partake of these gifts given to us by God, procured by your hand, or the hard work of another.  

So cheers to that next meal. Eat, drink, be merry, and happy milking day.

For some easy ways to start participating in these things yourself check out the Juice Plus tower, GardenSoxx,  or Blue Apron.