Merry Wanderer of the Night + weekend

Leif Reads: Getting Back in Touch

Leif Reads is a monthly feature I work on with Aths of Reading on a Rainy Day. Each month we choose a book that covers an environmental topic and discuss these topics and the book.

I've really enjoyed reading Coop this month because it's fitting in nicely with a long term comic I'm working on about sustainable agriculture. If you haven't noticed I've been thinking a lot about the disconnect that has happened between Americans and their food. While it's great that Michael Perry is able to live on his family's farm and teach his children about how food is grown and made I'm starting to realize that most people have never even set foot on a farm. A couple of weekends ago I went to an organic farm to do some volunteer work through an Iowa City organization called Local Foods Connection. Even though I grew up on a farm and around agriculture this farm was in a completely different league. I was amazed by the variety of produce they grew and the methods they used. The farm I visited started everything in a greenhouse and then moved it to a field.

If you have the ability to visit a farm or do some work with a farmer I would encourage you to do so. Next time you're at a farmer's market talk to the farmers there and find out what methods they use to grow their produce. It saddens me when I hear people talk about how lettuce comes from the bag. They don't realize that the lettuce in their bag was grown in Mexico and shipped to a plant where it was bagged and then shipped to their grocery store. They don't realize that the food they're putting in their mouths has gone through miles and miles of travel to reach them. They have no idea who is on the other side of that lettuce.

Even if you're not into gardening, visiting farms or farmer's markets, you might find it fruitful to grow a little something. I don't have my own yard but we're working on growing some things on our patio. Even if you don't have the option to do that, if you live in an apartment with one window you too can grow something. Jason and I are growing coneflowers, sunflowers, basil, and a few other things on our kitchen counter. It's set by a window and we water it every once in awhile. We planted all of these things just a few weeks ago and as you can see they are growing like crazy. If nothing else it's an exercise in understanding. Children often grow something small as part of their science classes in elementary school, but adults can learn from growing a flower in their kitchen to. It will help you understand that everything starts somewhere, even the book I'm reading came from a tree.

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Leif Reads: Getting Back in Touch + weekend