Lughnasa the Irish word for August represents the start of the harvest season and it is embedded in our culture and identity. It is a celebration of the harvest season.
By September we are celebrating the fruits of many months of labour in the fields it is the true month of harvest.Growing and harvesting your own food can be so rewarding. Watching the small seedlings transform into robust healthy plants that provide food is truly one of the many miracles of nature. Sometimes, it seems that the food is an added bonus, and that the pleasure and the reward of working in the soil is enough. It feeds the soul. Research has shown that putting your hands in soil can help ease depression and being outside cheers people up.
Rekindling that connection with our food and the land is something that is central to our identity. Our grand-parents knew what good food tasted like, they knew where their food came from and they knew how it was produced.We have handed the control of our food to a handful of global corporations that run an efficient feeding machine, which has disconnected us from primary food production. Supermarkets have added a layer of separation that takes us another step further away from our food. In recent years they have seen the value in putting the smiling farmer on their walls in a weak attempt to give the impression that they are reconnecting us to our food.
We have relinquished not only this connection but the skills and ability to produce our own food.We have become accustomed to the always available food culture, everything we ever need is always there on the supermarket shelves, plastic clad ready to be added to our shopping basket.We have paid a high price for this choice and convenience. If you are honest, what do you know about the food you are eating today for dinner? Where was it produced? How was it produced? How were the people treated that grew it? Difficult questions and mostly ones that don’t cross our minds.
However, the answers to these questions will not only open our eyes, they are the key to a shift in what we eat and how we approach our food. They can also lead to a healthier you and crucially a healthier planet.
We are right in the middle of harvest season now and it is wonderful. If you ever wondered if you could manage to eat with the seasons, then now is your best shot. And if you don’t know why you might start eating seasonally here are the why’s:
1. Reduce your carbon footprint massively.
2. Get more nutritious food. Freshly harvested food has a higher nutrient content.
3. Get an amazing taste experience “how food used to taste”
4. Support real local jobs.
5. Support the skills needed to grow our own food.
6. If it is organic you are supporting a system of food production that enhances biodiversity rather than degrades it.
So as with the traditional feast of Lughnasa why not get some good local food in, and celebrate the beautiful bounty of your gardens and our fields by a simple meal with family and friends.