Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Coming Together to Eat

The one thing that brings us all to the same level playing field, is food. The need to obtain it and consume it.

And when we can all gather around one big table, be it a long fancily decorated one, a round one with a porcelain top or a picnic table with ants running across it, barriers are lowered and we can all come together and enjoy one of life’s most simple acts. Eating.

My decision to move to Balch Springs to open a garden shop had more to do with the piece of property I found appealing than anything else. Moving my home there a couple years later, was just a two mile jaunt from where I’d been living, and honestly, it’s felt a bit like moving back to where I grew up in IL; On a pretty busy road, a block off of a noisy freeway, (instead of a busy commuter rail station), in an old house of a smallish, mostly blue-collar community. The main difference being this community is more diverse and markedly more rural. 

People of my community, whenever they’ve come here to the shop or Market Day, have always been warm, welcoming and friendly.

They come seeking nourishment, flavor, quality and often find the experience of an old childhood memory of their grandparents’ farm, or make a new one.

They’re often surprised to see chickens running amok, huge, old oak trees shading the area, historical buildings, and if on a tour, the land opening up to what often feels like to some, a never ending expanse of land full of native wildflowers, indigenous trees, shrubs, insects and other wildlife.

I’ve made my home and stay in this community because of my love for this land, and the people who live here. I’ve watched a lot of changes I don't necessarily like in the past 12 years; too many new fast food restaurants, beer stores and national brand cheap merchandise outlets, and don't see enough simple quality of life improvements or focus on existing mom and pop establishments.

But none the less, the people seem to come together for the fall fest parade, 4th of July celebration, the repair or building of a playground for its children or to pick up litter city-wide; showing me that there are a lot of people who, too, feel a sense of community here.  And as I've hoped, the community garden here continues to grow into a place where neighbors gather more often, too.

The longer I live here, the more comfortable I feel and the more determined I am to keep this farm here, in Balch Springs, rather than move it further out. Demographics have been evolving and development has been exploding here just as in the rest of the state. And as a rural property owner and lover of things left undisturbed, I’m not too excited about some of the development or the pace of it.

However, knowing that my little farm can still provide a relatively quiet space for someone seeking solace from their busy life or a tragic event; a safe home for wildlife; a bit of a preservation for what the native prairie lands here looked like before “Zip City”, before it was called Balch Springs, and produce nourishing organic food for local families who want it, really makes me smile.

Won't you gather together with others this weekend, wherever you are, and sit down at a table, long or short, and share at least one meal? Not in the car. No phones. No computers. No TV’s. Just food and people and conversation. And if you’re around the farm, join me Saturday after Market Day for a picnic. Potluck style.

I’ll provide the garden salad and a few crazy chickens running amok. 

Eat Your Food - Naturally!