My hands gently pawed at the dark dirt, hunting out the roots of a gnarly weed. Although fairly shallow, the root bulb reached several feet, causing me to yank and pull and yank some more. At last, the entire plant relinquished its grasp on the earth and came out smoothly.
With the moist dirt between my fingers, I knew I made the right decision in taking the next step in my food journey.
Only two weeks earlier, I watched Glass Walls, a PETA film documenting slaughterhouses and the animal cruelty occurring on factory farms. The film gets its name from Paul McCartney’s quote, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.” With its imagery of sawed off beaks; twitching and bloody cows and animals covered in their own feces, the piece is extremely powerful.
The film bore witness to hard-to-stomach evils. Work boots stomped out the lives of turkeys. Men slammed piglets into the ground, killing them with their aggression. And workers crammed so many chickens into one small cage, the hens can’t even spread their wings.
In fact, the piece was so persuasive, I vowed to eliminate factory farmed meat from my diet immediately. Although I wasn’t a big meat eater before, it’s still going to be a challenge. No more steakhouse filets or quick-and-easy fast food cheeseburgers. No more grocers chicken or, gulp, Thanksgiving turkey.
I went in search of a respectful way to incorporate meat into my diet that didn’t include snacking on maltreated animals that had been force-fed an unnatural diet of corn and antibiotics.
However, the more research I conducted, the more I realized I needed to questions all of my food choices—not just the meat. Micheal Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma, made me question not only my animal-based proteins, but everything I put into my body. If it’s processed, what are its ingredients? If it’s not, where does it come from?
I needed to develop a connection with my food and make informed decisions instead of ignorant ones.
This need for a relationship with my food brought me back to the garden. We have an extremely small plot in our backyard where we’ve grown a few select veggies, but my recent readings have persuaded me to expand it into three larger sections.
Now that I’ve finally removed those pesky roots, I can start.