I have been putting off this moment for weeks. Living on an assortment of legumes, a rainbow of ramen, and a less than ideal budget. I’ve had to get thrifty. But the time has come to repopulate my shelves.
I arrive at the grocery store; I feel like some sort of specimen under the harsh lighting. Walking amongst the biota of the grocery store - the bright shiny apples, the green unripe bananas, the hard-as- rock avocados - I have to wonder what their journey to this store was like.
While exploring the aisles, I can’t help but ask myself these questions. I think about how it is the livelihood of countless people to make sure I can get things from the grocery store. I think about how the people who make this happen and grow the stuff that keeps me alive, might not be able to afford an equivalent haul.
In my cart I have brussels sprouts, avocados, and a variety of veggies. I have never even seen an avocado’s place of origin or a brussels sprout sprout. I have never seen these plants emerge from the soil in the simple marvel of simple being. As far as most of us shoppers are concerned, our food grows right off the shelf. We are so far removed from our food production; this has got to have some kind of effect on us. How did we get to this? How have our lives manifested in such a way that we hold convenience and ignorance over patience and care? What is this doing to our communities, our environments?
How I am thankful for philosophy and its ever-charming ability to interrupt my daily life and turn it into an uncomfortably salty soup of ethics, morals, and questions.
Not only did the products have to travel far to get here, but so did the consumer! Living in a food desert, my journey to the grocery store is exactly that; a journey. The travel time alone takes an hour. The shopping: about another hour. And then there’s putting the groceries away once I get back home. And then if I want to cook up some of these delicious goodies, eat, and then clean up, well needless to say, I’m not getting any homework done on shopping day. It’s no wonder most college students opt for a quick stop at “insert your favorite fast-food sanctuary.”
I have been struggling to free myself from the cheap thrills of fast food. Supporting the ventures of cheap food has proposed a whole new array of questions that I might begin to try to answer.
Starting College, I was in awe of all of the things that I could have the potential to care about. Once I realized that my future kind of depended on how much concern I had for my education, I learned a crucial life lesson. I learned the importance of giving a shit. As I began delving into this new-found tribulation, I also began to educate myself on the things worth caring about. And at such an opportune time did the hindrance of caring about the environment and its inhabitants welcome itself into the living room of shit-giving and plop down on the couch.
The more I learned about the environment, the more it impeded upon my ideas and opinions. Much to my dismay, environmental and social issues forced themselves into my everyday rhetoric and eventually destroyed my quest toward neutrality, tore any remaining indifference to shreds, and loudly masticated through my tendency for apathy with their strong jaws. Woe is me.
The two main ingredients of confrontation of the self and one’s lifestyle, are unfortunately education and an unrelenting passion to care about that learned information. I had unwillingly acquired these ingredients and began the mandatory quest to bake my cake of confrontation and eat it too.
I truly believe that passion and care are the things that make a difference in this world. I believe that community is the path to caring and that caring is the best way to make lasting and meaningful change. I have learned to accept my care and consideration for the environment because it is ultimately shaping who I am and the legacy I will leave behind, and I simply cannot ignore or detest that.
Just by thinking about what I eat, I have altered how I live every single day. And it all started with a simple care. I care not because I want to, but because I have to. Be careful what you shit for.