Where does your food come from? Who grows your food? Who IS your food? What does your food eat? What kind of life did it have? What kind of death did it have? How far did it travel to get to your plate?
These are questions I consider more and more, the closer I get to the source of my food. Pictured above is a beautiful wild trout gifted to us a while ago, from Jeff.
This past weekend Phil and I helped process 3 fresh roadkill does that Phil had found with our friend, A. We skinned and gutted them Thursday night, cleaned, quartered, divided and packaged their 12 legs on Friday (with the help of several friends), then finished cleaning, de-boning, grinding, and rendering fat on Saturday (with help from others still). It was such a huge task, and we still have so much to learn. At moments we felt drunk and giddy with excitement, and at other times we were angry and depressed with frustration.
The physical process helped begin all the mental and emotional processing necessary. So many questions. How I feel about an animal that I eat changes after I go through the steps of touching its warm blood and thick fur, all the way to seeing the flesh simmering in my cast-iron skillet. It was such a long journey, but it leaves me wondering about the deer's life journey before I met it as a glassy-eyed body.
Yesterday I helped out with the urban program with Primitive Pursuits. It was a great afternoon, and I'm learning to love the kids there. Afterward, A. and I stopped at the Aldi dumpster. We found 2 pineapples, 2 bags of oranges, tomatoes, mushrooms, green peppers, a bouquet of roses, and more. In the trash.
Again, I cook my meal, feeling joy at my discovery and proud of what I'm learning. But then there's also that bitterness at what we're all losing. We're throwing food away. We're throwing lives away.
How do I process this?