While picking strawberries…

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And I am talking about real, small sized bright red, delicious, sweet organic strawberries, not the large half white things that have more petroleum products than the plastic container they come in. 

I’ve been living and working on an organic farm for about a week now and it is been overall great. A lot to learn, amazing organic vegetables to eat, great sense of community and the refreshing breath of the Mediterranean Pyrenees, all combined. Really what else could I ask for?

Today, I was given the option of picking tomatoes or strawberries, so I chose strawberries to avoid the contact allergy I get from the sulfur used on tomatoes (yes it is organic), and because I can eat all the soft strawberries I want and after all les fraises ne sont pas aussi compliquées que ça.

Or that’s what I thought! Well I mean it is not that complicated but if you know anything about strawberries, and organic ones especially, you know they are very small, very close to the ground and sometimes difficult to see. More importantly, they are delicious, which means that they get eaten by tiny worms, and are often attracting wasps and bees. This means that filling up a tiny container of organic strawberries is actually a lot of work (and that’s not counting the planting, watering and early stages of their development).

That got me thinking about our food and our current expectations of food. Things come bottled up, perfectly manicured in boxes in grocery stores and our knowledge of the work that goes in it is extremely far removed from our lives. We expect to have access to strawberries (or chemical infested large red and white things), avocados and mangoes in the winter months, without thinking about where all of it comes from and how difficult and tedious the impact is on the land, the farmers that are picking them up and the fruits themselves.

For some reason, all that floated in my mind is the image of a strawberry cake and I couldn’t stop thinking as to how many hours I need to spend to pick enough strawberries to make one of those. Of course, common commercial strawberry cakes are rarely made from organic strawberries, but rather from pesticide infested ones and chemicals that are made to taste like strawberries.

I wonder if we ever actually think or realize the amount of effort and work that goes into producing things and priced it accordingly, how would the world look like.

Certainly, we will have far less things than we do now, we would waste far less food and perhaps, only perhaps we would actually try to do something ourselves.

It is really a different world being here – suddenly, everything is put into perspective. On the one hand, I have unlimited access to all kind of organic vegetables that I work rather hard everyday for, while on the other I know that this is nothing on the large scale of producing food.

Producing food today has gone out of control in so many ways. We are so unaware of what goes into it, how it is made and what it is supposed to taste like. Most people expect food to be prepared for them, so it has become a long shot to expect your normal people to produce their own food.

Most would think it is development and consider working on a farm as peasantry, far away from the classy society and the world of technology and development and progress that we live in now, someone else does the “dirty” work since we have the money to pay for it; a courtesy of the feudalistic, capitalist system that rules our world.

I really don’t feel like going into a structuralist analysis of the world, but I can never understand how can people take food for granted and consider food production as a secondary priority, if a priority at all, although I am constantly thinking about it….

Meanwhile, I am going for tomatoes next time!

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