Found Food

by: Heather on 05/22/2009
Posted in: Food

My ten year old has a strong interest in found food. This dates from many years ago - I still remember his squeal of delight at the advanced age of 2 when he pulled a stale bread crust out of a neighbor's garbage on the breezeway of our co-op in Vancouver. He was thrilled to be providing for himself. I knew then that his hunter-gatherer instinct was strong.

Fortunately, his interest these days is a bit more sophisticated - last night he asked if he could make "fresh tea". He spent a happy half hour unearthing gloves and picking nettles (carefully) from out back, and then topping up his basket with the lemon balm that's currently staging a full-blown riot around the front porch. He stuffed his bounty in a pot, covered it with water, and boiled the whole mess, then strained it and used it as a vehicle for milk and honey. He informed me that it tasted "perfect". And it did.

What's really exciting to me about my son's desire to forage and his fascination with growing things he can eat, is that it bodes well for his taking responsibility for some of his own food sources in the future. I believe that it's vitally important to foster this curiosity and appreciation for where our food comes from. Because more and more, in the age of Peak Oil, I believe that our food will come from our own back yards.

In A Nation of Farmers, Sharon Astyk and Aaron Newton coin the term "Bull's-eye Eating", where the center of the target represents food produced at home, and each succeeding ring represents food produced at a greater and greater distance. The object, of course, is to concentrate your meals as close as possible to the middle of the target, with food from the outer rings reserved for those items consumed only rarely or in smaller quantities or as special treats. They also write about the need for 100 million new farmers in America - 100 million new producers in our food system, which far from being a new idea is actually a return to human norms in a time before industrial agriculture took over.

What are some of your ideas for rejuvinating your local food system? We'd love to hear about them in the comments below.

A Nation of Farmers


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