Lemon Tree by LF

My first Action Project in my Food For Thought course was to create a family food tree; a family tree, depicting the importance and travel of food throughout my families history. The purpose of this assignment was to develop a better understanding the impact food has, not only on the people eating it, but the people making it. This project helped me find and learn about my families culture through the foods that we eat together and home-make. I am happy that I was able to contact both of my grandmothers while working to complete my project. I spoke to each of them about their favorite foods and what they love to make, even to this day. I learned that both of my grandmothers like well-balanced meals, complete with vegetables and chocolate. I was also slightly surprised to discover that the food I eat takes a very long journey to get to my plate and into my tummy. To find out more, feel free to read my essay below.


When Life Gives You Lemons, Write About Them

By: LF


The sun beat harshly onto my skin as the warm air blew me carelessly this way and that.  My tree’s leaves rustled in the wind, making a calming sound all around me. However, there was something in this playful breeze that told me this was it. Today was the day; and I knew there was nothing that anyone, not even I, could do about it. I had heard stories of this day, yes, but they were only myths and made up adventures. No one knew for sure what happens after you are picked, plucked cleanly off of your tree, and tossed unceremoniously into a basket full others like you, from many different trees.

“Are you okay?” I hear my mom whisper, so none of my brother and sister lemons can hear her. I know she’s worried, but I know I’m going to get picked because everyone can see how yellow my skin is, my clear complexion, and my bright leaves. Everyone knows that the humans choose the best lemons.

“I’m fine, mama.” I whisper back, exasperatedly.

“The picker is coming! I can see him in the distance. Do you remember everything I told you about your heritage?”

“Yes, mama, I remember. I’ll be okay, don’t worry. I love you!”

“I love you to, Lemon number 567,123. Don’t forget your past. We expect the best from you.” And with that, the picker reached towards me, grasping me in his sweaty palm, and pulled me straight from my home, and the connection was broken.

I felt myself land with a smack amongst some of my own kind, who I had never met before. But lemons were strong, and they had come a long way, and I was not about to disgrace them. Lying helplessly in my basket, I thought back to the first time I heard the story of my history.

It had been a long day, and I was  swinging calmly on my branch, when my grandmother had first spoken to me about my heritage. She had said, ”My child, I think it is the right time for you to learn about your ancestors.” So she began her story.

“It is presumed that our kind first grew in India and China, where we were sought after for our antiseptic properties. My great grandfather lemon tree was planted Europe in the 1st century. However, we were not widely cultivated. We finally were taken to Persia and then even to Iraq and Egypt around the year 700.

“And my child, we were even written about! The first time was in the 10th century. In the 18th century, my mother tree was planted in Florida, when people began using us for our tart flavor. You, young child, are lucky to be planted right here in Barbara’s back yard. It is said all around the neighborhood that her lemon bars are incredible.”

In this moment, my dream, all I want, is to live up to everyone’s expectations. As I come out of my revelry, I come to the realization that I have been cut into little squares and sprinkled with sweet powdery white sugar! It is just how I have always pictured my victory! Everyone is talking about me as I am placed on the plate of a young girl. The last words I hear before completing my journey, tell me I have made it.

“They remind me of eating little lemon meringue pies, but in a bar shape. They’re just delicious.” Barbara, Lily’s grandmother, says.