|(This photo via absentmindedprof on Flickr)|
Since 2007, Blog Action Day has focused bloggers around the world to blog about one important global topic on the same day. Past topics have included water, climate change and poverty. This year Blog Action Day is focused on the topic of food.
Yesterday we traveled out to Clagett Farm, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's working farm and education center, for a day of service.
Clagett Farm is a 285-acre historic tobacco farm 12 miles southeast of Washington, D.C. and six miles west of Maryland’s Patuxent River (just outside Upper Marlboro, MD). A living model of environmentally sustainable farming practices, the farm's landscape is covered with 20 acres of organic vegetables, clover, and grass pastures for beef cattle, as well as 60 acres of forest.
Our chores included removing hundreds of yards of drip tape from a crop field and disposing it; harvesting the last remaining green, yellow, and purple beans; and weeding 200+ native tree and shrub nursery pots. The work was moderately intense - the heavy-weeding especially -- but all three tasks were good for mixed ages looking to explore farming life through physical work.
Yesterday's service also reminded me that the range of choices we have when it comes to food in America is astounding when compared to so many other countries or regions. We can lose sight of our advantages while working hard to improve the problems surrounding mass production, food safety, urban food advocacy and malnutrition.
Choosing to eat life-supporting foods and feeling gratitude for that food is a habit, and a single visit to a farm will not instill this habit in our hearts and minds. But my belief is that a day of hard work on a farm can contribute to the ongoing dialog we have at home. Plus, it's fun.
The kids are tomorrow's growers, buyers, parents and advocates. They need to taste the differences for themselves. It's a simple path, but not one that is always easy to follow.