Cherie sometimes fusses at me for growing so much more than we can eat. I always rationalize planting so much by convincing myself that other folks will want whatever we don’t need. And that is true, in a sense.
The folks at God’s Storehouse are always delighted when we show up with fresh veggies. And it feels good to help in their mission of feeding the hungry in our community.
But I’m always disappointed when I try to give the food away to friends and neighbors. Most folks are very happy if I pick the veggies and bring them to them. But very, very few will actually come out to the farm and pick their own. Either their days are just so crammed and busy that they can’t spare an hour to pick fresh food for their families, or they just don’t want to be outside in a garden that long.
A couple of years ago I planted over 3,000 row feet of green beans. I planted lots of varieties and raised them organically, which is a lot of work. I offered them free to anyone who would come and pick them. I was excited about getting good food out into the community and about offering our gardens as a place to get it for free.
To my surprise and disappointment, only one person accepted my offer–a woman who was helping to care for my grandfather. No one else, not even once, came to pick any.
I was travelling a lot that summer and away from home, so thousands of pounds of veggies just rotted in the field.
Not that long ago, nearly every American family tended a garden. We didn’t drive to a supermarket or to McDonalds to get something to have for supper. We went to the garden.
The day may come when Americans wish they hadn’t lost their willingness to grow food, and to pick it themselves.
In the meantime, I reckon we’ll just keeping growing more than we can eat and waiting for the winds to change.