My two seasons of farming have led me to believe that food is indeed magical. The experience of growing crops to feed a campus community is deeply satisfying to me, and is also some of the most broadly challenging work I have ever encountered. Though I water and till the crops, they will grow as they wish.
the snap pea’s tendrils will always grab onto the trellising you provide them,
and heirloom tomatoes will always sell at a premium price at the farmer’s market.
For me, the magic lies at the confluence of backbreaking work, profound patience, devoted attention, and pure luck. This magic is a part of what has brought me to appreciate not just the act of growing, but also the beauty that food plants can have in our daily lives. And of course we must thank our pollinators, for without them much of this magic would not occur.
All photos in this post are by elizabeth birnbaum and are subject to creative commons licensing.