Every few years my family would pile into our car and leave our crowded New Jersey suburb to visit cousins in the majestic, rural land of Vermont. One such trip, a few years ago, I finally understood what had made these trips so magical—the food!
Pasta with home grown tomatoes and squash. A bowl of fresh raspberries for dessert. Crisp, sweet peas for afternoon snacks. My cousins grew all of these things in their garden. Food was not just a collection of foreign substances they put into their bodies to survive, but something that grew alongside them. I could taste the love and nourishment in every bite.
Now I live in a city with a very tiny yard space, it’s not exactly rural Vermont. But the wonderful freshness of my cousin’s homegrown vegetables gives me a sense of what food can be and gives me the motivation to find healthy food to eat. It makes me sad and angry that so many people do not have access to (or know about) mineral-rich, nutrient rich, sustainably grown food. We are who we are today because of the nourishing foods our ancestors ate and it is not okay that marketers and large commercial enterprises have replaced these rich foods with waxy apples and processed sugary snacks. The loving way my cousins grow delicious food in Vermont has strengthened my own relationship with food and the integral role it plays in loving my body and my community.