Soul Food This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

August 28, 2008
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Next time you’re outside, look around. Look left, right, across the street, under your toes. What do you see? If your neighborhood is like mine, you’re probably surrounded by green lawns, perhaps a row of flowers or a bush. Now, think of everything that goes into keeping those plants alive and perfectly green: fertilizers, pesticides, lawn mowers, and of course, lots of water.

We quench our yards with ­gallons of water every day, while millions of people around the world don’t have clean water to drink. We bring in beautiful but invasive flowers to break up the monotony of our lawns, but they choke out native plants and interrupt delicate local ecosystems. We douse our yards in poisonous chemicals to eliminate any variation in the green carpet. No surprises, no spontaneity. Everything in its place. But these pesticides and weed killers run off into streams and rivers, thanks to our advanced sprinkler systems. Swimming, anyone?

Meanwhile, inside our homes, we’re shocked to learn of pesticide residue on our produce, so we rush to Whole Foods and buy expensive organic apples, which are hauled from California by trucks spewing carbon ­dioxide across the nation.

This isn’t how it has to be.

Imagine a different kind of green: the green of lettuce and rhubarb and young tomatoes just beginning to blush red. Feathery tops of carrots, delicate leaves of a blueberry bush, string beans climbing a fence.

We don’t need to poison our yards to keep them beautiful. We don’t need to pay three ­dollars for a handful of “eco-friendly” blue­berries from the other side of the country. We don’t need our foods to be pre-packaged into 100-calorie packs.

How about making jam with those kids across the street, or helping your little sister plant a pear tree that will be there when she graduates? When we garden, not only are we more connected with the seasons and the earth but we grow closer to one another.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 12 comments. Post your own now!

510JCR said...
Oct. 28, 2010 at 1:36 pm
Soul food sounds like a fascinating book. What comes to mind is food. What this book is about is endangered and extinct species. What comes to mind with the essay is on how one's view on a topic can change the discussion. Also the book affects me on how the essay shows potential to change readers like me ideas towards endangered species.
Mikmik123 said...
May 8, 2010 at 10:11 pm
Just wondering why it was so short without giving any real life story examps. otherwise it was great
Mary G. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 7, 2010 at 1:21 pm
I'm happy with people rating my article, but if you give me a low rating why not tell me why?
earthmuffin This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 3, 2009 at 2:29 pm
Very good point. Your very right about how by working with nature with others that it brings you closer to them.
Schubster said...
Nov. 13, 2009 at 9:58 pm
The article was great, although I would pick a different's not like i don't like it. In fact, I love it!!! but it just doesn't fit the theme of your message here it was a bit misleading to me...i think, anyway. :) but it truly was a great piece of work.
madi 123 said...
Nov. 13, 2009 at 3:23 pm
this poem is so real!!!!!!!!
laxgirljk1315 said...
Nov. 13, 2009 at 3:01 pm
wow. that was great :)
writer24/7/365 said...
Sept. 30, 2009 at 6:05 pm
i guess i agree with some of this, but there's nothing wrong with landscaping.
StarSister7 said...
Sept. 30, 2009 at 10:25 am
cool! you make a really good point.
samual replied...
Sept. 30, 2009 at 4:04 pm
that was good i guess
dalila replied...
Sept. 30, 2009 at 4:05 pm
i am a weird person
tweedle dee said...
Dec. 1, 2008 at 1:23 am
i love this so much and totally agree! i love gardening and im closer to all of my friends who ive worked in the garden with than the ones i havent. my grandma and my mom garden to and i totally agree with the whole organic food coming from the other side of the country i have problems with that too. OMG i so completly agree whith everything you said!!!
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