Eating: An Agricultural Act



“Eating is an agricultural act.”
Wendell Berry, What Are People For?

After reading Wendell Berry’s essay on the Pleasures of Eating, I doubt that I will ever be a passive food consumer again. Living on Ometepe Island, we are intimately involved with our food. It is a loving, complex relationship from planting to eating… from a terra firma cradle to an acidic churning grave.

We are active participants in the process of food production. Our lives revolve around planting, picking, fishing, harvesting, and nourishing. We’ve formed profound connections between the land and eating, between the rainy and dry seasons, and the lunar planting and harvesting calendar. We know what we eat! And, I’m beginning to think that we are what we eat… healthy fruit loving, vegetable chomping, fresh egg hunting, fish catching, food lovers.

What we can’t grow, a Friday morning vegetable truck delivers to our house. Depending on the season, we choose broccoli, cauliflower, avocados, Chinese lettuce, cabbage, and hot chili peppers from the back of our favorite vegetable truck. “Do you have bananas?” I ask. “Not today,” they respond, “but, we will bring them next Friday.”  It is like stepping back into the 1950’s here. This is the way to shop for vegetables.

Carla, a single mother of two, has a tiny grocery store (a pulperia), four houses away. When we want fresh homemade sweet bread, chicken, or the occasional Coca Cola for our rum drinks,  I walk up our sandy path to visit Carla. I play with her baby, we talk about the latest news in our community, and I return home with my bag full of cheap goodies to supplement our meals.

For the rare times that we eat out (usually on a shopping trip to Moyogalpa), we usually buy breakfast at The Corner House. Gary and Laura serve wholesome, organic food and fruit smoothies. Everything is homemade and delicious. Their cranberry scones are out of this world!

Seven years ago, we had to leave the island to buy peanut butter, chocolate, spices, whole wheat flour, brown rice, and other ‘gringo’ foods. Now, Hugo’s grocery store makes bimonthly trips to Price-Mart in Managua. They email me before they leave, and I send a list of items, of which chocolate chips are always at the top of the list. Everything else we need, we can get at our local Mini Super in Moyogalpa. Guillermo, the owner of the Mini Super, is a savvy business owner catering to the needs of the expats and foreign tourists on the island.

Wendell Berry states, “Eating with the fullest pleasure — pleasure, that is, that does not depend on ignorance — is perhaps the profoundest enactment of our connection with the world.”  I totally agree. My connections with the land grow stronger daily. Enjoy my food photos!



12 thoughts on “Eating: An Agricultural Act

  1. Hello Debbie, first time leaving a comment. I do enjoy your blog a lot. Left my country Nic. abouth 30 years ago and you remind me that I am ready to go back for sure… My husband Italo-American wants to go to the North side, like Matagalpa or Jinotega. I will start showing him your blog! I also enjoy your pictures. Thank you for loving my country.

  2. What a healthy way to live.You know what you are eating. Takes me back many years ago when we lived off the land and supplemented what we needed through co-ops.Our kids were in 4-H.Life was hard and inconvenient at times…but it made sense.Love the circles.

    • Thanks, Lynne. I was in 4-H, too. I remember I sewed my first skirt in a 4-H class. It had lima beans all over it. 🙂 Life continues to be a challenge, especially with rats eating our sweet potatoes, and leaf-cutter ants carting away my flowers, but I wouldn’t trade it for my previous lifestyle.

  3. I like the fact that people buy gorceries on a daily basis! everything is fresh… your poultry, fish, meat, fruits.. Now, that is healthy eating and livivng. I think the only thing you guys eat frozen is the ice cream lol.. Great post as always Debbie 🙂

    • Thanks, Z. The other day, I couldn’t get the circle gallery to work, so I had to play with it and manually paste the text into the text format, instead of the visual posting format. How do you change the sizes of the circles? And is there a way to arrange them differently instead of in columns?

      • yes, i pasted through the text format as well. i was unable to override any of the preset (?) options.. i asked for one column, two columns, four columns, and it stayed stuck on three. the program-savy folks could probably punch a few keys and presto it’s how we want it!

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