Growing Real, Local Food
“Ma’am, where is the real corn?”
A question I was asked once while I did a short stint as a Whole Foods produce clerk. This question instantly made me chuckle a bit. What made that other corn “fake”? It was not made out of plastic in any way. Of course I knew exactly what she was looking for at the time, she wanted a certified Organic, non-GMO corn. I happily helped her find what she was looking for and went about my day. However her question has stuck with me to this day. Where is the real corn? Or better put, where is the real food?
A couple years ago, when I decided I wanted to start growing food for myself and others, I had one reason why I wanted to. I like growing and providing food for others. Sharing recipes, swapping garden secrets and cooking meals for people was always in my life. This simple reason was enough to get me started. However, I began to find myself getting lost in the many discussions of organic, non-GMO, no-till, pesticide free, conventional, small farmer, large farmer and so on and so forth. I started to feel myself being lost in the mass amounts of buzz words that are meant to capture the customer, yet don’t seem to fulfill the questions we all have. What does it mean to be organic? What is the difference between organic and natural? What is the difference between a hybrid and a genetically modified organism? Is that bad for me? Is this good for me? I did not know what buzz word I wanted to stand behind.
Then I realized, I didn’t want to stand behind any buzz word. Every question came back to the same original question for me. Where was the real corn? All I wanted to do was grow real food, for real people, with real questions. I found that I want you as a consumer to question me. I want you ask me “Rose, why have you decided to not become a certified organic farmer?” I want you to ask every farmer you know the questions you need answered. We all have definitions of what real food means to us. So ask the questions you need answered. I do not want to tell you that my farm’s going to be the best source of vegetables for you. I want you to find that out for yourself. I can always hope that my farming practices are a good fit for you, but I cannot guarantee that unless you ask me the question.
So here I am, on my third year of growing vegetables for the community. I am happy to say, that the “why I do it” has come full circle. I love growing food for people who like eating good food. For me, that’s where the real food is.