Why you need to reconnect with your food


Environmental Fridays

Kelly Walker

Food. We need it to survive. Yet, humans seem to have lost touch with their food and its origins. Instead of grabbing dinner through a McDonald’s drive-thru window, humans once worked for their food. We first accomplished this through the hunting and gathering method, and then through the innovative concept of agriculture, which contributed to our exponential population growth rate. 

The industrial revolution and progression through the 20th century led us to where we are today. The business mindset of the modern human inevitably led to the separation between the act of eating and the creation of our food, whether it’s the cultivation, preparation or transportation of it.  We are oblivious to it all because we naturally value convenience and availability.

Is there something wrong with this disconnect between a meal and its origins?  I think so. Not only does the planet plead for the reparation of this disconnection, but also our souls. It is simply impossible to properly describe the feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment that comes with growing your own ingredients and making a meal from scratch.

On top of personal feelings of achievement, doing this will also help the planet.  A lot of fruits and vegetables from the grocery store come from farms that use harmful pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. Because gravity and rainwater ultimately wash everything into the cracks and crevices of the earth, such as streams and rivers which lead to the ocean, these chemicals inevitably leech into our waterways and promote deadly algal blooms which create dead zones, where little can grow or survive.

Additionally, modern agriculture is slowly taking over the surface of the planet, carving into the Amazon and other valuable areas as our population demands more and more food. Growing your own food ensures that you are not supporting these practices with your money and reduces your carbon footprint.  However, I acknowledge that the fast pace of the modern world seldom allows for a daily life of such perfect connection with our food. 

If you lack the resources or adequate time to grow your own food (I think most college students would agree that the thought is overwhelming with classes, jobs and extracurriculars), consider purchasing locally grown and produced food. Be intentional with your Saturday morning to slow down and walk to the closest farmer’s market. Luckily for us in Lexington, we have a wide variety of locations and times for farmer’s markets to where you could find one in town most days of the week, not just Saturday. Get to know your local farmers to help you make an informed decision about where you want your food to come from.

For the ingredients that you need that simply can’t be grown in Kentucky due to climatic or seasonal factors, find a local grocery that offers responsibly grown food. We are blessed beyond measure to have the Good Foods Co-op right here in Lexington. Good Foods offers a variety of clearly-marked local items, as well as other non-local items from thoughtful or even sustainable companies.  Additionally, they have a glorious bulk section where you can find endless ingredients to choose from for your thoughtfully made meal, which could potentially be created with no waste if you bring your own containers.