Eating Appreciatively

by Tavon Johnson

Given the money, time, and energy spent on the Thanksgiving holiday, being thankful in America is big business. Supermarkets often find themselves overwhelmed with the volume of American families trying to find the turkeys, hams, ducks, and host of vegetables, desserts, and other dishes that they hope will make their Thanksgiving gatherings a roaring success.

Why this appreciative mode of thinking is largely reserved for one day in the entire year escapes me. After spending some of the first few days of my summer internship with the Institute of Integrative Health at Real Food Farm in Baltimore, I’m going to make it a point to eat appreciatively each day of the year.

Real Food Farm is an urban farm located in East Baltimore's historic Clifton Park. As one might imagine, the work being done on the farm is HARD. Soil enriching compost is piled heavily on a daily basis by employees at the farm, and it smells, well, unforgettable to put it nicely.

Tavon + soil.jpg

Tavon (right) has gained an appreciation for the hard work that goes into growing nourishing food.


Squash clad greenhouses and hoophouses keep the employees busy, too, as they must be planted, tended to, and eventually harvested. The farm is no virtual reality simulation either. No summer heat spells, quick torrential rain spells, nor wasp induced faint spells can stop the work from being done on the farm.

Real Food Farm employees aren’t just farmers; they’re consultants, educators, job creators, and grocers. Local businesses can get fresh lettuce—among countless other produce—planted, harvested, spinned, rinsed, and packaged for them on the farm.

The public, too, can find, purchase, and even learn about all of the various available fresh produce on the farm. This feature is especially beneficial given the farm's purposeful location: in the center of multiple Baltimore food deserts—low income areas typified by a lack of convenient access to healthy food options at grocery stores.

All in all, even in the formative stages of my summer internship, I’m learning to eat appreciatively.