I’ve always loved Earth Day. But for a long time, I never thought about it in relation to food.
It’s not like I didn’t know food came from the earth. My family – okay, my mom – had a big vegetable garden, and I helped mulch, weed, harvest, and prepare the veggies. (With some objection, I have to admit.) We also composted food scraps, and that went back into the garden.
Plus, before I was diagnosed with a dairy allergy, we used to get milk from a farm up the road. The milk was tasty, but the main draw for me was Macaroni the Pony.
I guess by the time I was old enough to think about it, I had too much baggage around food to consider it as something related to Earth Day. For me, Earth Day was about trees and lakes and animals.
Now, though, I realize it’s so much more – and it definitely includes food.
So in case this concept is new to you, too, I want to offer some ways you can celebrate Earth Day through food, though this is just a starting point.
1. Eat something that needs to have the dirt rinsed off.
Root vegetables are good for this, like carrots, beets, onions, parsnips, or potatoes. It might be pre-washed by the time you get it but give it a rinse anyway and think about the soil that was its home. Imagine this food growing underground, nourished by the earth – and now it’s nourishing you.
Carrots Photo by Gabriel Gurrola on Unsplash
2. Pick another food and think about how it’s connect to soil.
Maybe it’s easy to do, like if you pick a fruit. Or maybe it’s harder. For instance, yogurt comes from milk, that came from a cow, that ate grass, that grew from the earth. (If you pick something like Cheetos, you’ll have to stretch further!)
3. Think about how much energy goes into making your food.
And how all that energy that comes from or impacts the earth. For instance, how far did your food travel? How much gas was used to transport it? What about the people who grew and picked and packaged the food – which they were only able to do because of the energy theygot from food? (You can get pretty meta with this.)
4. Express gratitude.
Once you consider everything that went into the food – the soil, the water, the energy – take a moment to express gratitude. And maybe feel wonder. Because it truly is wondrous, how all these elements come together to nourish us and let us lead our lives.
5. Eat and enjoy!
And then comes the fun part – enjoy eating the food! Pay attention and savor it as completely as you can. Sniff it and see if the smell brings up any memories. Delight in the colors. Notice how wonderfully creamy or crunchy it is, sweet or salty, warm or cold.
If any of this has given you ideas about other ways to celebrate Earth Day through food, I’d love to hear it!