Tomorrow is August first, a day that marks the beginning of the harvest season for many northern hemisphere cultures. That is to say, it is celebrated by those groups who still have a strong connection to the agricultural practices that put food on the table. Western society, as a whole, over the last century, lost that connection.
At times, this amnesia seems almost intentional. We don’t want to be reminded that our vegetables spring from the very dirt we trod under our feet or that the meat on our plate was once a living creature. We expect our produce to be perfect, pert, and show no sign of the soil from which it came. Our meat and poultry should be antiseptically packaged in plastic, neatly cut into pieces with as little resemblance as possible to the creature it once was. When we do get glimpses at the origins of our food, it’s often done for either entertainment or shock value.
If you find that this description fits you, I challenge you to take time tomorrow to celebrate the source of what’s on your plate. As much as your personal taste (and qualms) allow, seek out local sources of food. Whether it’s a trip to the farmer’s market, a “you pick” fruit grower, or a local trout stream, seek out food that comes from near where you live. Make a celebratory meal of the foods that you find.
Tomorrow will find me making a trip to one of the many local farmer’s markets, harvesting herbs in my garden, and making a homemade, from-scratch meal from local foods. As someone who reveres and respects nature, I will take time to celebrate the connection between myself and that which sustains me. I will give thanks for, not only the food on my plate, but for the lives that allowed it to be there – both the living beings that were the source of my food and those people who made it possible for that food to find its way to my kitchen.
I hope that you will find a way to celebrate the day and that this season of harvest will be a bountiful one for you, regardless of your path.