Food Self Reliance

Working for Peanuts

It’s another cold morning, and Garth and I are walking across the frozen lawn to Edible Earthscapes, the farm next door. The birds seem impervious to the temperature. Garth carries a baggie of home made peanut brittle. I’ve come along to see the look on Haruka’s face when he hands her the sweet treat.

Jason and Haruka grew the big, fat Virginia peanuts over the summer. Shelled by Bob, Amy and Garth, they are full of sunshine and energy, protein and fat and have flavor to die for. The peanut brittle came out perfect – golden, airy and scrumptious. Haruka’s face glows with a smile that warms the air between us. My day is already complete and it’s only 10am.

Working for peanutsHeading back to the house, I pass through the green house. The air in here is tropical – warm, moist and alive. I close my eyes and inhale deeply, savoring the vibrant aroma of plants, sweat and soil. I’m transported. The world glows golden on the other side of my eyelids. This is bliss.

Hours later I return to the greenhouse to find everyone hard at work. Brussel sprouts, Swiss chard and Butterhead lettuce are fluorescent in the late afternoon sun. The speakers pour music into the humid air. Haruka is planting seeds into trays.

Jason, Amy and Garth are building a bed. With broad forks and rakes, they break up the soil, rake it smooth and cover it with mulch. No petroleum based fertilizers are being used here. No pesticides. Again, the rich smell lifts me from my world of to do lists and deadlines into the real world. And when I step outside again, I recognize life all around me in what had seemed to be a frozen, dead landscape.

We share the bounty produced by Jason and Haruka’s hard work through our CSA boxes. In addition to greens, peanuts and dozens of other vegetables, they also grow rice and beans, which really excites me. Complete protein, right next door! In terms of self reliance, beans and rice is a huge accomplishment.

Garth has been accepted as an apprentice and Amy plans on volunteering in exchange for learning the secrets of growing organic food. Their labor will feed us in the months to come.

If the world economy were balanced, farmers would earn more money than bankers, politicians, investors and accountants. Instead, the folks who grow our food next door are working for peanuts.

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.

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