food be thy medicine, and let
medicine be thy food.” ~
first paying job was working on Rovinski’s Farm when I was 9 years old. The
farm was on the corner of our neighborhood street and literally right behind
our house. I’m not sure there was any strict enforcement of child labor law
back then, because I was one of many young kids working in the fields. Twenty-five
cents an hour was the going rate. I guess it was better than working in the
coal mines where the kids in my grandparents’ generation worked. For us, it
wasn’t about earning money to support the family; it was more a matter of
having something to do and getting a few bucks of our own for spending money.
work came in two seasons; planting and picking, and included a variety of crops
such as cucumbers, squash, carrots, onions, potatoes, corn and likely tomatoes,
beans and peppers. So much time has passed that I can’t remember all of them for
sure. What I do remember is the rich nature of the soil in which we worked.
Long rows were tilled, and from our knees we’d shove our planting device into
the loose soil, drop in the seedlings, cover the hole, move forward and repeat.
It was a small, local farm and there were no fertilizers or chemicals used in
the planting process back then.
working in the fields, we would walk half a block home and tend the vegetable
garden we had planted behind our garage. Fresh lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers,
beans and peppers all arrived in the kitchen fresh from the garden most nights
during the season. Having a bountiful and nourishing vegetable garden was the
norm for most families in our neighborhood, so no one thought twice about it.
a few years ago, when my dad was elderly, I recall him being slightly indignant
when I would pay extra to buy local, organic produce and groceries. Our garden
was long gone, but he didn’t quite appreciate how great the quality difference
had become between the local, naturally grown food we grew up with and the
chemically fertilized, institutionally farmed crops that are transported vast
month’s feature and Green Living department are must-reads, as is our entire
issue and the lineup of online exclusive articles (page 30), including The Horn
Farm Center for Agriculture Education discussing their community garden effort.
you already have a vegetable garden or are inspired to start one, you can dig
into this issue and follow the path to feeling good, living simply and laughing