Food Connection

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The colorful eggs of Leafhopper Farm show the mixed flock of ladies working the land and turning it into gold (with some great Scratch and Peck layer mix). The last of one of my deer harvested in 2015 is being ground up for some good sausage. Protine is very challenging to come by in wild foraging. Eggs are one of the easiest agricultural production models in farming. Together, these wild and domestic foods satiate the pallet at Leafhopper Farm.

Another quick reflection on harvesting your own food and how important it is to stay aware of consumption. When we no longer know where our food comes from, we are severed from the very life which sustains us. The majority of civilization are not aware of what goes into growing food, how it does directly affect us, and what can be done to reconnect with our diet in a more holistic, and nurturing way.

It is through the conditioning of our society that we have come to assume the grocery store will have what we need to eat, and in some cases (more than many would like to admit) a growing number of people are eating out of gas stations and fast food establishments. The quick mart food is not fresh, and often has the most additives of any food choice. On the other hand, it is convenient, and we are cultivating a society of convenience, so reach for what’s closest.

When the first frost comes, and I know, because one verity of Leafhopper apples are picked after the first frost for peak flavor. This heritage fruit was cultivated for maximum seasonal growth, ensuring good sugars for our winter diet. People continually grafted this frost apple to root stalk and carried it into The Pacific Northwest. Eventually, it found it’s way onto Leafhopper Farm; that’s deep culinary survival for both the apple and human beings. Survival is truly the end game, for all life.

Chickens come from jungle fowl in Indonesia, yet we now cultivate endless verities and types of chicken today that barely resemble their ancestors back in south east Asia. The Europeans took this bird and bread it up to make a larger egg for humans, giving us an easy source of protein in return for stewardship of the birds. The heftier animals need more food, especially in colder regions of the world where many of them are now bred (Barnevelders of Holland are an example).

By this time, people were settled in homesteads and small villages, where they could not only keep a flock of birds near by, but also grow the grains to feed them. Agriculture was a great advantage for human development, and the development of all livestock. I put a lot more faith in living stock, as opposed to the stock market of flashing numbers which runs our economic success, for now. The benefit of livestock is the immediate return in food we can utilize if needed. Why is currency not measured in living stock? Can’t eat money. That’s a classic fact.

What would happen if we, as a species, decided to look at the collective support each species brings into being; the added strength and resiliency the diversity of connectivity brings, instead of monetary value?

The venison often enjoyed at Leafhopper Farm is wild harvested in our local forests each fall. Hunting is a privilege, not a right, and many people do not realize this. America and Canada are anomalies in the Western World. Europe is small countries owned by the rich. There is little public land in most countries. The United States has the most public land of any country in the world. But it’s changing fast. We’re selling it off to developers, and renting it out to natural recourse extraction companies. My hunting grounds are in a logging operation working 100,000 acres along The Central Cascades.

At least I can appreciate the land and harvest something wild to eat there. I do pay a fee, but just a few miles to my west is another forest with totally public access and lots of great hunting. Logging is happening there too, and in most forests across the country and the world. You have to step outside your neighborhood to really understand this. Then look back at where you live and ask yourself what was there before people developed it. The old growth stumps around the farm bare witness to an ancient forest that once thrived here.

You do not have to be growing food or harvesting it to know the land and understand living systems, but it helps to know what you eat. What does that even mean; know what you eat? Well, to me, it means connection to food, land, place, people, nature, nurture, world perspective. This is where your own individual needs, wants, and dreams come in handy. Community can also greatly enhance ability and action, so connect, like all growing things do. At Leafhopper Farm, we’re connecting to food and place, stewardship and abundance; what’s connecting you?

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