I was once upon a time a chef. The cooking world is hard on the body and often lacks a sense of appreciation for all the toil that goes into making a lovely meal. Since I no longer do that, I have a greater love and gratitude for the cooking process. And nothing is more precious to me than using the food I grow – especially when I can share with others.
Growing Your Own Food
As holidays come and go, I have to give thanks for my ability to grow food. It is pure enjoyment and a joy to plant and harvest what I have grown. The practice also allows me to control what is in my food. No pesticides, herbicides, or other icky items are in my garden. Sometimes that results in fails. Like when the grasshopper population eats all my baby plants. But mostly, if I overplant, there are plenty of good things outside my door to use in my recipes.
While growing your own food isn’t an option for some people, I am thankful that I can do it and feed myself and family. But there are many urban areas that are considered food deserts. These are neighborhoods where there is a limited supply of healthy produce. Instead, those without money and transportation are forced to eat convenience style foods, full of preservatives and little nutrients. Food deserts affect the health of adults, but children in a larger way. Young people need high levels of vitamins and minerals to develop strong bodies and minds. In a food desert, the lack of availability of fresh fruits and vegetables has a powerful negative effect on such development.
Organic produce is expensive in the store, and for good reason. Going organic isn’t easy. You have to fight Mother Nature for every tomato and head of lettuce. But growing your own food in an organic and natural manner increases the antioxidants and avoids many of the toxic heavy metals and pesticides common in commercially grow food. While the numbers are going up, with a recent search showing 1 in 3 households in the U.S. are growing their own food, many do not have the opportunity. This is a sad state of affairs, where just a few generations ago, our great grandparents were often responsible for most of what went on the table.
Grateful to Give Back
That is what I am grateful for now, and every year. I can grow my own food. It is organic, healthful, and tasty. I can produce more than I need, meaning I have plenty to give away to neighbors, family, and the food bank. My organic garden allows me to share the health benefits with those that can’t produce their own fruits and vegetables. Growing your own food has holistic benefits that transcend bodily health. It is a healing and meditative exercise that can boost your mental wellness. Sharing the garden harvest can do much the same thing.
When I am at the Thanksgiving table, I give thanks for a great many things. My health, the beauty of our world, friends and family, and more. But on a daily basis, I give thanks for my lovely and productive garden. It is the heart and soul of our home and I am indebted to its bounty. Why wouldn’t I want to share with others?