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Food for a Year (pt. 2)

Garth Brown |

Why would I decide to eat only food grown on my farm for an entire year? That's a good question!

I do like rutabagas more than most people I've met.

Also, I have a farm, which makes the whole thing a lot easier.

Also, I like eating game, meaning I won't be put out if it comes to squirrel hunting at some point.

Also, the interconnection of the modern world perpetually begets new experiences, and the increasingly intuitive interfaces of modern electronics makes accessing these experiences both simpler and more natural seeming. It is no longer necessary to sit at a desk in a dedicated space to enter the virtual world, as the virtual world has insinuated itself into our pockets and onto our wrists. While this does bring the possibility of limitless novel interactions, it is a circumscribed infinity, the sort of infinity that can exist between a one and a zero. Our food system shares this paradox of the limited limitless. There are thousands of products in any supermarket, but for the most part they are made of the same few commodified raw materials, and even a simple exception to this monotony, like an acorn squash, often tastes predominantly of watery insipidity. Just as choosing to consciously remove the virtual from the reading of a book or a conversation with another person inevitably changes the quality of the experience, my hope is that consciously removing myself from the modern food system - by choosing a very different set of limits - I will come to understand food in a way I wouldn't if I remained connected to it. I hope this undertaking will give rise to thoughts about food and our farm and the meaning of community that I could not have without it.

Also, I'm okay with turnips. They're not as good as rutabagas, but they're not bad.

Also, I wanted an excuse to brew thirty-five gallons of cider.

Also, over the summer between Freshman and Sophomore years of high school I, along with my friends Bennett and Jason, decided to live off the land for a weekend. On the one hand, a couple days isn't that long to rough it. On the other, this took place in a suburb of Philadelphia, so we didn't have vast tracts of wilderness awaiting our untrammeled exploration. We unsuccessfully hunted the mostly tame ducks on a country club golf course, but we did catch some bass from a nearby pond the owner was kind enough to let us fish. Coupled with potatoes from the community garden plot we were camped on these made a sort of dinner that first night, but by the end of the second day we were famished. Showing the good sense common to attentive parents, Jason's mom brought us a chicken still in its shrink wrap, which we roasted on a spit. Believe me when I say failure has never tasted so delicious, but it was failure nevertheless. So I might be motivated by a desire to redeem my fifteen-year-old self.

Maybe at some point in the coming year I’ll narrow it down a bit.

I'm thankful that my wife Alanna welcomes this strange idea, and that she is even interested in helping document the fallout, even if she's not so foolish as to give up coffee and chocolate. And I'm thankful my daughter isn't yet old enough to be embarrassed by her weird dad.

Garth Brown

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