Last night we had chicken Provencal for dinner (or our version of it). It was delicious. But beyond the taste of it, or the nutrition of it, what mattered was how that food came to our table.
The ingredients: chicken, broth, tomatoes, rosemary, onions, garlic, leeks, red and green peppers, carrots, and a little bit of red wine. It was served with boiled baby potatoes. The only thing not from our land? The wine. Everything else was organically produced and harvested by us as a family. Yes, even the chickens were raised and processed by us. Dessert was a spoonful of raw honey. Yum.
Why do we do it? We believe in knowing where our food comes from. We believe in eating organically whenever we can. We believe in the idea that if we are going to eat meat, we either need to do it ourselves or know the farms where it came from — yes, I mean looking in the eyes of beef cattle, knowing, really knowing, where our food comes from. But really, we do it for the joy and emotional peace it gives us. No, the day the chickens move into the freezer is a day we dread. But I also know how carefully they have been raised, the way in which they have been treated. The planting, tending, harvesting and processing of the vegetables? Just plain fun. The caring for the bees? They fascinate me, inspire me, humble me. They create this peaceful, organized, supportive society, and make honey while they do it!
Why do we do it? Because digging in the earth, tending to animals, learning from the bees and chickens, all of those things remind us that humans aren’t the be-all-and-end all of the world, that other creatures and organisms have such worth. Growing our own food nourishes our bodies and feeds our souls — that’s why we do it.