Prepare: Take better care of the earth and all its gifts

Reverend Anne Bancroft

As a child, as a military breadwinner, I had never met a vegetable that had not been frozen first. Broccoli, beans, peas, corn, carrots, and spinach – my absolute least favorite – came out of boxes that had arrived from the nearest restaurant and waited downstairs to freeze to be plucked and boiled to accompany some pre-frozen meat.

Don’t get me wrong. My brothers and I were so grateful to have Three Squares, and we didn’t know the difference we missed. But even now I can remember how revolting those vegetables were, and how we invented ways to get them out of our plates as inconspicuously as possible. One brother hid the peas under the edges of his eating utensils, or in his half-consuming glass of milk. Another lima wrapped in his napkin, hoping it would be kicked off the table and taken to the trash before it was discovered. I was wishing my dad’s fork would go between his plate and my plate to take the puddle of spinach I couldn’t get off from, no matter how much vinegar I was trying to drown out!

Getting ready:Two extraordinary books on our climate crisis

It was in the 1960s, and if anything grew around our house(s) it was flowers, not vegetables, and while we were grateful to eat at the table there was a deep disconnect from where it actually came from, and I now know it was a missed opportunity to understand our relationship to the earth. It’s strange to remember that when I was young, all edible things came out of the freezer, not the ground, except for iceberg lettuce of course. It came from the fridge.

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