Growing up in a suburb of Los Angeles, I did not have the immediate knowledge of where our food and water came from. I turned on the faucet for water, plugged cords into the wall for electricity and went to the store for food. Yes, my city had been engineered for me and I was mindlessly playing my role.
At a young age I felt that there was something wrong with my ignorance. Even worse, no one else seemed to be aware of our unawareness. Everything came from ‘somewhere else’. One comfort for me was that my mother grew up on a farm and she would tell tales of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl where many people had no food and some even starved to death. My mother’s family were poor by most standards, but they had 51 acres of land in rural Ohio and they fed themselves and many others. My mother’s stories inspired me to become an ethno-botanist to learn about how plants were used in the past.