Today the opening question to our work meeting was, “When does a plant become food?” Is it food once its harvested? Is it food once its been processed through the pack out? When does the direction and intention of the plant’s life become nourishment for other living creatures?
Some of the answers that were offered contained the preparation of the pack out and then the physical handing of the produce to a customer or CSA member. Others didn’t find a difference between the two, offering the idea that they can be simultaneously both without have to be one or the other. For me, the intention of growing the plant for food is where the direction of that plant’s life becomes nourishment rather than being. Placing the seed into the soil and knowing that whatever is produced from its life will be consumed by someone is growing food to me rather than tending to plants. In my relationship to this dynamic, there is a tricky line here: the plants I help grown on Horton Road Organics are similar to the ones I have growing in my apprentice bed, but I don’t consider them food. Yes, I will consume what they produce and I provide the care they need, but the intention in I planting them was to experiment and cultivate a relationship with their lives rather than growing food.
When do see plants become food? Is it the second you pluck an apple from a tree? Or is it the physicality of going to the market that marks their consumption? Is the mushrooms you forage down an old logging road? Or the CSA box you pick up Thursday evening?
Food for thought and happy ponderings,