It’s a satisfying thing: walking to a farm stand to buy your groceries for the week.
When I lived in Vancouver, I used to spend the occasional weekend in Squamish, helping out on a family friend’s vegetable farm. Not only did I love waking up with the sun to get my hands dirty, but it was the coming home on a Sunday evening after a day of volunteering at the farmer’s market with a bag of fresh, flavour-bursting food that had the best effect on me. Growing and harvesting your own food is, of course, a more satisfying endeavour than walking to a farm stand to buy the fruits of someone else’s labour, I’m certain of it. However, I long ago surrendered in my fight to prove that I have a green thumb when my endless failures at keeping a garden have shown that I don’t.
I’m a hopeless gardener, in fact. I’ve tried it all: growing from seed, buying veggie plants that someone else has seeded, keeping it simple with the a plant or two in planters, joining a community garden and sharing a plot, and growing a garden right outside my front door. I fail every time. And failure, when it comes to gardening, I’ve learned, can take many forms. I don’t water often enough. I plant too many vegetables that turn ripe at the same time. Then, I don’t make the time to harvest them in a timely fashion either. So they rot in the soil. For some veggies, like green beans, they don’t rot but instead become too big and starchy to be enjoyed. The truth of the matter is: our actions show our commitments better than our words. I’m not committed to growing my own food. We can only take on so many responsibilities. As soon as I accepted that I prefer to eat the locally sourced food that someone else has grown, I felt free to focus on the multitude of other ambitions I have at living a nourished life – ones I’m actually good at, like cooking, writing, meditating, and providing therapy.
This morning, I woke up missing those Sunday evenings when I’d get home and unpack the crisp greens, eggs, milk, and seasonal fruit and veggies into my fridge. We were in need of groceries. Yet, nothing about driving – or driving to a store, specifically – was appealing. I don’t live anywhere near Squamish anymore. Nor have I invested in building a relationship with a farm close to me that would just as openly receive me in my coming and going as I please in the way my friends did. So, I packed my baby into her stroller, grabbed my backpack, wallet, and dog, and headed out onto the bike path toward the nearest farm stand. Five kilometres of walking and two hours later, I was back home and could breathe freely again. We’re set for the week. And, even though I didn’t get my hands dirty, my mind is more clear for having kept away from commercially brewed noise while having purchased all the ingredients I needed, at better quality, and getting my exercise in.