Sunday, October 25, 2009

Who is shaping the future?

I'll state right up front that even though I am not a daily reader, I am a fan of the writing on The Onion. So when a friend sent me the link to the article "Television, Processed Food Couldn't Be More Proud of Child They Raised", I figured it was a good read.

Indeed, it was a good read that did just what The Onion does best, that is, it writes a perspective that is extreme with enough truth in it to make one both laugh out loud and cringe at the same time.

I'll let you read it for yourself, but I'll make a few comments. Mostly, this article brought back memories for me of how difficult it has been to raise our two boys in a world where my husband and I have often felt like salmon continually swimming upstream against the swift current of 'pop-culture', whether that be clothing, food, music, TV, etc.

A moment that was both 'defining and galvanizing' for me was one approximately 25 years ago (my boys are now almost 27 and 32) when a friend visiting our home, looked at what I was feeding my little boys for lunch and made the following comment: "Of course you're tired, Diana, you are still growing, canning, and cooking most of your food from scratch." (the only thing I truly remember about that lunch was having made home-made tomato soup from home-grown and home-canned tomatoes - here is the recipe)

Flash forward to this week - this past weekend, my husband finished our canning for the year (grape-applesauce from apples of an unknown variety that grew on the one apple tree at our new farm that produced fruit this year along with grapes that grew wild on the fence at our community garden plus those we found on the farm's property). I was out of town during this last canning weekend, attending the annual meeting of The American Dietetic Association in Denver. After I got home and he proudly showed off the beautiful sealed jars on the counter, he packed them away in a box that was labeled "tomatoes - 1981."

I'll be the first to say that over the past 37 years of our marriage, there were times that we were unable to grow, can, and cook most of our food from scratch, primarily the years I have been on chemotherapy or recovering. I know first hand how much time and effort cooking takes, let alone growing and canning/preserving food. My family does know what boxed mac and cheese, store cookies, and delivery pizza tastes like.

However, I also believe that there has been nothing more important than the time and effort our family has spent at growing, preserving, cooking much of our own whole, organic food from scratch when we have been able to do so (in addition to also eating together). Both of our boys are now young men who are deep thinkers and very thoughtful about their values and actions. They vote and they are not afraid to speak up and speak out about important things. In addition, they both know, grow, and enjoy cooking organic, local, sustainably-raised food from scratch most of the time. As I reflect on how I have spent my time and energy as a cancer survivor (which has been my boys' entire lifetime), I hope it is not too self-indulgent to have a few thoughts that all the effort for all the food my husband and I grew and fed them while they were growing up has made a little difference. :-)

I am proud of my sons, both now young men, and in contrast to the ending of the article in The Onion (yes, please read it), I do expect to hear a lot from them for decades and decades to come as truly well-nourished citizens are urgently needed to help shape the future of our country!

"Cultivate your life - you are what you grow - inch by inch, row by row"

Diana Dyer, MS, RD


Ashley Colpaart said...

You are amazing...shall I leave my favorite quote:
"The destiny of nations depends on how they nourish themselves." -Brillat-Savarin

I think we know that nourishment goes well beyond the nutrients. Well done.

Renata said...

Hi Diana,

Thanks for your perspective. As a mother of young kids who dreams about growing and canning, it encourages me to hear how important it is, as well as not to beat myself over the head when it can't be done (like this year).

Diana Dyer said...

There will be growing seasons when the complexity of life will exceed the ability to grow and preserve a lot of food (in those years, please support your local farmers!). However, I hope that you can always find a tiny bit of land (or a pot) where you can tuck a tomato plant or some kale seeds (call it edible landscaping!)for the pleasure that comes from putting your hands in the dirt, nurturing your own food, and eating the freshest and most delicious food possible. :-)
Diana Dyer