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It has been a full week since my first day at Lettuce Link. Within that span of time, I have already learned so much more about issues that plague today’s agricultural system. Most importantly, I have learned about the importance of local, organic farming and its sustainability in comparison to the current monoculture farming enterprise. I have even had the opportunity (already) to visit both farms to see and experience what takes place at a local farm. Both visits were quite eye-opening. I can’t and don’t look at food the same way. Before, I never considered or cared where my produce originated from. I simply cared about its freshness and taste. The use of pesticides did not faze me at least not enough to purchase the expensive organic produce. But now I look at the produce in the supermarket and hope that I’m not slowly poisoning myself with produce that is covered in chemical residue. I also worry about the variety of produce that will exist in a few years. I love walking into a supermarket and seeing the colorful spread of vegetables and fruits, but this diverse assortment could be reduced dramatically at any time, even more so now since monoculture farms dominate. I have heard a couple of horror stories where certain crops have been close to dying out because of a swarm of pests or drought. After hearing about a fungus that could potentially wipe out all of the bananas in the world, I found myself starring at the bananas at Safeway and wondering if they would be here in 20 years.
Needless to say, my perspective of food and farming is changing. How could it not after I spent hours in the cold rain harvesting and washing produce at a local farm? I have so much appreciation for those farmers who dedicate their lives to grow healthy, lush produce for others to eat. I personally could not and would not be able to do such a thing. The aches from bending in down in the garden beds and the bitter weather do not agree with me. I could barely stand the weather these past two times at the farms! Although it’s late June, it does not feel like summer in Seattle. Mix in some rain with the 60 degree temperatures and it can get chilly real fast. I literally could not feel my fingers after a certain point and am willing to admit that I was not one of the few who were still outside harvesting when it was pouring down rain.
With that being said, I should probably have prefaced my post in saying that I have zero experience when it comes to farming or gardening (as is probably obvious by now). At most I’ve helped my dad in the yard (and by “helped” I mean pass him the shovel) when I was 7 years old. Hence, I was pretty clueless when I arrived at Marra Farm on Friday. It was most certainly a learning experience, and I am eager to continue to learn much more in the next 7 weeks to come.