One of the driving forces behind my move from my flat to my new little house, was a desire to have a garden to grow food.
Going to the supermarket was becoming increasingly depressing. I’d find myself standing in the ‘fresh’ fruit and veg section, staring off into the middle distance, wondering how it is we reached a point where the food we fuel our bodies with is suffocated under layers of plastic and pesticide.
This season, I managed to get some salads on the go and I was lucky that the people who previously lived here left behind some productive fruit bushes. Still, I’m a long way off meeting my food needs from my own garden.
My research into places to buy locally grown fresh veg was fruitless and none of the veg box schemes deliver to my area because it’s not easily accessible. My depressing trips to the supermarket continued.
Until, that is, I happened upon a notice about the farm shop at the prison, a 20-minute drive from my house.
A few days later, I made my first trip to the prison farm shop. Once inside the little wooden hut, I didn’t want to leave. I was surrounded by tubs of parsnips, carrots, kale, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, broccoli, cabbage, beetroot, cucumbers and leeks. The parsnips, carrots and potatoes were covered in earth. Everything looked…real!
Omar and Andy, the men behind the counter, introduced themselves and explained that everything in the hut had been picked from the farm no more than 24 hours previously. Jars of honey, from their own bees, were lined up along the countertop. They even had their own smokery and sold smoked fish Thursday-Sunday.
I left feeling gleeful, joyful and awake. A small part of me, a part that had been dying, had suddenly sparked back into life.
There was a time when doing your food shopping meant visiting the local butcher, the local greengrocer, the local baker, the local farm. There was a time when the food we ate came from our local area, freshly grown by people we knew by name. There was a time when you didn’t have to check labels to see whether what you were buying was contributing to the destruction of rainforest for palm oil.
Over decades, we’ve been sold a lie of convenience. It might be easier to get all my shopping from the supermarket’s brightly lit aisles, but at what cost?
So much of our world has become deadened and we need to find all the ways we can to bring it, and ourselves, back to life. Seeking out and supporting sources of real food is one such way.
Love and courage,
This speaks to my heart so much Leah. Literally had a similar experience in the supermarket on Sunday. I just wanted some loose broccoli, organic preferred of course (except our "organic" standards are so weak here in the US, it’s disgusting, but I digress) and I just looked around at how much of everything was wrapped in plastic! Produce, fresh food…wrapped in PLASTIC. I despise it. I was similarly depressed about that, and just the whole environment of "shopping" these days with "faceless" humans robotically going about their business. FEW smiles. No community. No warmth. No "chatting". Like you mentioned…it felt "dead". I’m ready for real again. I’m ready for living EXPERIENCES. I thank you for your inspiration and encouragement to try more steadfastly to head in that direction. As you can probably discern from my tone, I am not feeling particularly positive about where our world is currently…but I AM trying to remain hopeful. Knowing there are others that feel the same is HUGELY helpful. Love and courage…
So glad to know this spoke to your heart, Nancy. I don’t feel it is an easy task to feel positive at this time, there is just so much grief. But I also feel that, as well as allowing that grief and all the ‘negative’ feelings space to be felt, it is indeed the task of our times to see the beauty and find ways to bring more of it back. Like you say, knowing that there are others out there going through something similar is hugely helpful. It certainly helps me to keep doing my best to direct my focus in a useful way. Sending so much love to you over there. xx