One of the joys of urban agriculture for me is eating what I grow. I cook eighty percent of what we eat from scratch. This is time consuming but I love learning new skills in the kitchen. How to make cheese, yogurt, butter; how to make chutney and jam. How to preserve the vegetables and fruit I grow for the winter. The meals I make for my husband and I are seventy percent vegetarian. My kids like to eat more meat. I buy organic produce if it is on the dirty dozen list or if I can get it for a good price. Our meat I buy natural and free range and grass fed when I can find it.
Eating this way is not cheap but I believe our health is worth it. Over time my idea of frugality in the kitchen has changed. You can spend very little on food if you want but I guarantee you’ll be eating mostly processed food with limited nutritional value. For me, frugality comes from being a smart shopper and buying quality while it is on sale but mostly from knowing how to use all of what I buy and wringing every last bit of nutrition from it.
Lastly, for me there is deep satisfaction in knowing how to create something from start to finish. I know how to plant the seed, grow and tend to the plant, know when to harvest and how to prepare that harvest in nutritious meals that uses up every scrap. Yes, I could go to the store and buy dinner but where is the fun in that and more importantly, where is my connection to the food on my table? Our consumer, disposable culture has robbed us of the satisfaction of producing for ourselves and I believe it has severed our connection to our food with catastrophic results for the planet. Food is now a commodity to be thoughtless bought and consumed. As a society we desperately need to find our way back into the kitchen and back into our gardens and reconnect with what sustains us. It would fundamentally change the way in which we see the world and our place in it. I believe there is nothing more important.