This personal food story is comes directly from Civil Eats – I hope you enjoy it and join me in following her new series there, Last Mile Access.
I’ve never told anyone this other than Barry Estabrook: I grew up eating tomatoes planted in soil nourished by my own poop. My family’s zeal for organic gardening was unmatched. No, we did not have a composting toilet. Instead we used a 5 gallon white plastic bucket, filled up regularly, and carefully composted the old-fashioned way—in a steaming heap.
My family was a clan of Boston and Brooklyn-bred urban hipster homesteaders in the 60s, far before the trend. In the 70s, they went whole hog and bought 100 acres of land in the deep South where they could count on the sunshine and knowledge of neighboring farmers to help them carve an existence from the land.
Eco-freaks with art and design pedigrees, my family hated waste and respected art born from the crucible of a closed loop ecosystem. So they recycled cow bones, from the Chicago meat packing plants that supplied McDonald’s, into gorgeous jewelry that graced the pages of Vogue and the halls of the Smithsonian Galleries. (more…)