My dad dug 700 pounds of potatoes from his garden in the fall of 2012. He was 81 years old at the time. The following summer he suffered a major heart event and a few months later he passed on.
One of my dad’s gifts to me was the gift of garden fresh fruits and vegetables. It was the type of gift I didn’t fully appreciate until I grew up, moved away, and realized that many people live their entire lives never tasting a tomato hot and fresh from the vine, never savoring a peach under the shade of the peach tree, never enjoying French prunes or Elephant Heart plums, or grapes from the vine.
We enjoyed all of it fresh in season and bottled throughout the following winter.
Not many people have that kind of connection with the land anymore. And THAT is a big problem. We’ve given up our farms and gardens, and by doing so, we’ve allowed Agribusiness, Big Food, and Junk Food to take over our food supply. Agribusiness and the monocultures they promote have virtually wiped out crop biodiversity and we now think it’s normal to eat poison saturated stuff that’s long on shelf life and short on human lives.
I had the opportunity to help care for Dad in his final months. Part of caring for Dad included caring for his garden. When the plums on the Elephant Heart plum tree ripened, I picked and dried them. I knew that Dad’s time on Earth was coming to an end and the dried plums would remain after he was gone. Among all the other items we gathered for our run across the U.S.A., I made sure we had had Dad’s dried plums in the trailer freezer. David and I ate and enjoyed them for the first few states on our transcontinental run. As we ate the plums, I’d tell David stories about Dad and years gone by.
Last year’s plums are gone now, but this year’s blossoms will soon yield another harvest. And from what Mom tells me, my sibs and their spouses have been busy planting and working Dad’s garden.
Life goes on. Our oldest daughter and her hubby are expecting their first baby. I hope and pray that their child and their yet-to-be-born cousins will have the opportunity to grow up in a world rich and abundant in healthy foods, gardens, and family traditions.
I look forward to walking our grandchildren through Dad’s garden. We’ll feast on the fruits and veggies as we feast on the family stories that have shaped our lives.
Thanks for the garden, Dad, and thanks for enriching the lives of so many people.
Happy Father’s Day.
Brett Wilcox is the author of We’re Monsanto: Feeding the World, Lie After Lie. Brett and his 15-year old son, David, are currently running from coast to America coast promoting a GMO-Free USA. Brett and David blog at RunningTheCountry.com. Brett wrote this blog in Dunreith, Indiana. Support their run and mission at RunningTheCountry.com/donate.