Shopping in the humble backyard
Shopping in the humble backyard
My friend has a lemon tree that produces lemons so amazingly delicious you can pluck one off a branch and bite into it immediately, skin and all, with no ‘lemon face’ to be seen. I’ve grown green beans in my backyard veggie patch so big and full and juicy that would rival any Michelin star restaurant’s £14 side dish, picked fresh off the vine and eaten for breakfast. Bush tomatoes have sprung up out of nowhere in that same veggie patch, creating the plumpest, reddest, most fragrant, rich, earthy and sweet tomatoes you will ever taste. On my back patio a couple of fig trees grow in pots, and although hardly prolific producers, when they do produce, the figs are so charmingly flavour-full, one is enough.
Where am I going with this? Simply, that food can be so very rich and satisfying that it is medicine for the body.
Somewhere along the lines, the world decided that we need to mass-produce food in order to feed us all. Food famines have (falsely) educated us that we don’t have enough food available to go around, and farmers have to genetically modify plants to make them grow faster and more prolifically. The small farms have been swallowed up by big business, claiming to be efficiently manufacturing food. And they likely are efficient, I’ll grant them that, as they create more with less, the catch-cry of the 2000s. And yet we have the problems of massive amounts of food waste and obesity. Go figure.
There are vast tracts of land dedicated to growing grain for feed-lot/factory farmed cattle, a known contributor of contaminant (methane) into the atmosphere. Not to forget that ancient rainforests are still being removed to create more and more land for more cow-food. Enormous areas of incredibly fertile land are dedicated to growing grapes that produce alcohol – a drug that has zero nutritional value, and is a well-known contributor to domestic violence statistics, overburdened health systems, chronic disease, injury and premature death. Doesn’t seem that intelligent a use for arable land when you put it like this, does it?
Travelling though Asia, one sees every imaginable spare plot of land being used to grow food. Markets are everywhere, selling fresh, vibrant and cheap vegetables and fruits: not saying that Asia is perfect of course, but drawing on the great example being set in these countries of food production. Eating the local food just feels more wholesome and good for you, like an injection of vitamins into your bloodstream. And that’s how I felt picking those beans and tomatoes and figs and kale and spring onions and coriander and eggplants and lemons from my backyard.
Australia is the land of the good ‘ole Aussie backyard. I would imagine if we add up the space the humble backyard covers, we would amass a pretty spectacular expanse of space that can be used to grow food.
We say we don’t have time to garden. But we have time to watch Netflix. Others say they haven’t a green thumb; but you probably have a neighbour who does, who can either teach you how, or share what they grow while you babysit their children, wash their car, do their grocery shopping or vacuum their house for them. Every excuse under the sun can be countered with the truth.
Why are we calling for cheap, low grade, unfulfilling, and nutrition-void food?
We know there is only the supply of something because it is demanded. Why do we not value quality over quantity?
I know as a fact from the health of my body and my skin that a feed of half a dozen homegrown green beans sautéed in avocado oil with sage leaves and lemon nurtures me and satisfies my hunger a heck of lot faster and longer lasting than does two dozen pale, supermarket-bought beans in a packet, requiring sugary sauces to make them edible. And going beyond the function and physicality of the food itself – when you start with an ingredient that is already full and rich and of the highest quality, grown with the premise to only heal and expand the body, then the cooking process can take the food to an even deeper level of loving the body and being inside it!
More is not more. Let’s see our bodies as deserving only of premium fuel, and love ourselves so much we don’t settle for less. C’mon humanity! Start demanding… you deserve more than the plasticky, dull, empty excuse for food that mass-produced factory farming offers. Not by picketing or fist-pumping or letter writing campaigns, but by joining with your neighbours, your friends, your community, to grow your own ‘medicines’, aka food. Let us support the producers of real food; the farmers who start with energetic integrity from the first turn of the soil, all the way to the genuine smile on the grocer’s face as they gently package your ‘vitamins’.
Send the kids down the road to climb the mulberry trees and eat their fill of the flaming purple berries! Better still, go climb those trees yourselves! Fill your bodies with the warm, sweet richness from the shared strawberry patch, growing where the fence once was between you and your neighbour.
While we must eat, let’s feed our vehicles with the grandest, richest, most magnificent food possible!
Responsibility tastes really good!