Farm to Table? No, just dirt to mouth….

I had a beer with a scientist this week.  She told me to buck up, get ready to face the future.  GMO’s are nothing compared with what’s happening in Universities now.  What’s coming down the pike, via the science of synthetic biology.  It’s all amazing, scary, promising, complex and it’s going to be in your bread soon.

The next morning, I was standing in an old style farm field along the live oak canopied road that leads to Kiawah Island, SC.  My old college friend Jim farms there.  He filled a box of produce for me to cook up for a little event on our farm.  It’s simple stuff; no GMO, no trendy terms.  He’s farming.  We’re eating.

Jim's fields on James Island

Jim’s fields on James Island

This old friend is Jim Martin.  You might know him through Clemson, Riverbanks Zoo, the Mepkin Abby, Brookgreen, Charleston Parks or lots of other public good organizations.    Now he farms in an old style but still sort of perfect way.   By the fennel plot, a crowd of savoy cabbage, every third one chopped and sold, old cabbage stumps in the pathway, still manages to be stunning.    His soil is rich, certainly low-till, organic, composted and full of worms — all the right Mother Earth stuff.   Jim calls it dirt.

The stump of old and cabbage plant --- even the trash on Jim's farm is alive and beautiful.

The stump of old and cabbage plant — even the trash on Jim’s farm is alive and beautiful.

Actually, he calls his farm, Compost in My Shoe.

This is what farming used to be: all about diversity, dirt, watching for bugs and rain; understanding what plants need to thrive.  Sharing.

It brings me back to new stuff.  What happens to sharing when GMO’s take over?  I’m worried that the whole social order of farming and gardening is being turned on it’s head.  From a thing that anyone can do, anyone can pass on to friends, grandchildren or the poor family down the street who really needs to save a few bucks.   GMO crops mean that you can no longer do that.  You can’t share.

Farming and gardening is all about sharing.  For me, it’s sharing the knowledge that I have to coax beauty and health from the earth.

Jim’s veggies and mine too, get put together and shared tonight at our Crinum Cocktail Party.   Mushroom frittatas, slaw, radishes to dip in butter that’s mixed with Tom’s honey, a big salad and pigs in a blanket.  Just a plain old biscuit blanket.  Soon maybe, if we need it, if it’s safe, if it doesn’t turn the baking world on it’s head, we might be eating bread, made from yeast that is programed to produce certain vitamins.  DSC02769

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