Once upon a time, in the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve wanted something to eat, they picked it off the nearest tree. Nowadays, we pick it off a supermarket shelf. There’s something wrong with this picture.
I think that God designed us to interact with nature. When we do so, there is a spiritual dimension to that interaction. These sound like religious sounding words, but I don’t want to suggest that only people of faith have this spiritual dimension to nature. It can also apply to people without faith – sometimes more so.
One of the ways we can choose to live more natural lifestyles is through the food we eat. Many people in the western world don’t eat nearly enough food that could be considered at all natural. It has been processed, modified and added to. Even fresh fruit and vegetables that we buy from our supermarkets may not be as natural as we think it is.
But it’s not just a matter of what we eat. It’s also how the food that we eat comes to us. When we buy food from the grocery store, we are pretty much removed from the whole food process. However, when we grow food ourselves, we are part of that process. There is something a lot more natural, rewarding and spiritual about getting our food in this way. Stuff that just can’t be bought in a jar.
One of the other aspects of food that we often forget is the cost. No, I don’t mean the total price when you go through the checkout. But the complete costs to the world and to the environment is buying processed, packaged food from supermarkets. There are the costs of transport, processing and packaging (in terms of environmental costs, using up of resources such as oil, carbon emissions). When you pick up a product off the shelves, it is worth asking yourself how much is this costing the world?
Christians are taught to be good stewards. I don’t believe this just applies to how we use our money and whether we use it wisely. Although this is important. It also applies to how we take care of the world around us. We must make the best choices with what we have. We should also be good stewards of our body. When we eat natural foods, we are taking care of our body in the best possible way. As well as this, I think Christians should be people who try to give more and take less. We should think about this in everything we do – and this includes the food we eat.
Growing a vegetable garden or fruit trees is one way that we can interact with nature, eat more natural food and decrease the cost to the world in terms of our consumption. Food grown by yourself doesn’t have far to go before it is eaten. There is far less cost in terms of transport and processing. You also know that the food you are eating has not been modified or added to in any way.
Not everyone can grow their own vegetable garden. However, there are other options. Many communities have community gardens, where people can come and work in the gardens. It’s worth seeing if there’s one near you. Or if not, why not get one started? Farmers markets are also a better place to buy fruit and vegetables than the supermarket. When you buy from a farmers markets, the people selling their products are local. That means the food has not traveled as far. Also, because they were themselves involved in the growing of the food, you can ask them about how it was grown. Try doing that to the checkout operator at the supermarket.
We’re not in the Garden of Eden anymore. And let’s face it, no matter how hard we try, very few of us are going to succeed in leading completely natural lifestyles. But the closer we get to this, the better we will feel – both physically and spiritually. I think it’s worth creating our own little
whenever we can. Garden of Edens