Ask your average American child where their food comes from, and more often than not, they'll say, "The supermarket." I was the same: Raised in a household that purchased nearly every single perishable thing we consumed, except for our yearly grape tomato harvest. Not only does food simply appear in stores ready for my consumption, it comes swaddled in plastic or closed up in a bright box. Many people wouldn't be able to tell a carrot growing from the ground, even if it were pointed out to them. We act like the thought of plunging one's hands into the dirt is atrocious. Those that choose to raise gardens to supplement their foodstuffs become heroes or barbarians, depending on which side you stand.
But what an unnatural relationship for us to have with our food! We no longer understand the effort that goes into growing the wonderful things we eat. We don't see these foods in their freshest forms when we buy frozen dinners by the pound. There's a disconnect developing in the American psyche (well, actually, there are many), and I see it every day as I scrape plates and plates of half-eaten tacos and nibbled-on enchiladas into the trashcan of the restaurant I work at. Massive quantities of food get thrown into that trash every day, and it makes me sick.
We need to remember what it is to grow something from the earth, to harvest these foods and pack them up into trucks that take them across the nation. So many humans have lost that perspective. Huge amounts of gas were burnt up just to get the banana that I'm currently eating into my hand (and that is a massive oversimplification). There's no longer any respect for the foods we eat, the people who grow them and the ways by which the foods find their way to us. Our loss of our link with the land has not only presented itself in wastefulness, but also in a lack of understanding of what real food tastes like.
I'm not sure how many of the fruits and vegetables I eat every day are deliciously fresh, but you know when you taste something that's just come from the ground. Foods that don't have to go through the process of being packaged up and manipulated to "appear" fresh taste worlds different from anything we could ever buy at the supermarket.
I guess you could say that this is me begging my peers to try to grow something. You will never taste something as sweet as a carrot you pull from your own garden, or as juicy as a tomato that comes from your pot. Let's try to reestablish our link with the land. After all, we wouldn't be where we are today as a human race if not for our ability to cultivate plants. Learning to sow seeds and care for gardens and harvest foods should be a part of our national curriculum, because it can no longer be assumed that children are learning these skills at home.
So next time you go out to eat and you just can't quite finish off that meal, box up your leftovers.