When we lived in Las Vegas we didn’t take advantage of the abundant sunshine to grow our own food. But, before we left Utah for our roadschooling adventure we had our first experience with planting, maintaining, and harvesting a garden. We had tomato plants over 6 feet tall and blackberries bigger than quarters! It seemed overnight the cucumbers were copious. It was a wonderful family experience and one of the kids’ best memories of our time in Utah before hitting the road.
Traveling full-time is obviously not conducive to gardening. I guess we could sustain an herb garden, but space is limited and it’s never made the cut. I have learned a lot about food over the years and its impact on the body; especially my body, knowing now that I fight autoimmune disease. We do our best to seek out nutrient dense foods and place emphasis on vegetable & fruit consumption. Consequently, as we’ve traveled we’ve sought out farmers markets and u-pick farms.
It’s been fun to get up close and personal with food through our travels. We’ll always remember the smell of fresh citrus groves in central Florida. When we went to a u-pick blueberry farm we learned there are over 30 varieties…30! At this particular blueberry farm we got to pick and taste 10. Picking apples on a beautiful autumn day in New Hampshire was such a highlight. Being from the west, we were astonished at the many different apple brands we’d never heard of. Recently I read an article that helped explain this phenomena.
In short the article talks about a book – “The Apples of New York,” that was published in 1905. The book features hundreds of apple varieties that have virtually disappeared due to industrial agriculture.
“Fact: Today, the 15 most popular apple varieties account for 90% of all apple sales in the U.S.
The most commonly sold apple? Red delicious.” (Megan Kelley, Upworthy, 2015)
Before the turn of the century, seeds were harvested and shared among family & friends. During the industrial boom hybrid seeds were chosen because of their higher yield. But new hybrid seeds have to be purchased every year. Hybrid seeds comprise the agriculture and home gardening production of today. Nowadays, farmers typically grow only a handful of crops. According to the article, this has to do with seed regulation. Seed regulation effects biodiversity. Did you know small farmers strive for autonomy to freely share and use seeds through community seed swaps?
Seed swaps are growing in popularity. Due to the increased cost of living, a seed swap can lower expense for those wanting to grow their own food and/or have a special interest in organic gardening. Some view seed swaps as having cultural importance because various ethnicities can transport seeds over great distances and grow food that they’re accustomed to. While others swap seeds for the long term benefits of crop diversity and countering the agrichemical monoculture of today’s food industry.
A fascinating documentary about a seed swap in the Ozarks can be found here.
As we have explored the country and sowing seeds of knowledge regarding nutrient dense foods we are excited to more diligently try growing our own food when we transition to a sticks and bricks home. In the meantime, we do our best to eat organic and support local farmers.
“Our collective definition of a ‘good job’ has evolved into something that no longer resembles Work, and that has detached us from a great many things, including our food, and the people who provide it.” ~ Mike Rowe