Archive | February 2017

Progress, not perfection.

I’m still fairly ridiculous, eh? If I sit and really thinking about, this basket full of foreign produce seems so extreme to me. The lengths it would have taken to get this here to me… many hands and machinery and trucks and boats and maybe even planes over thousands of kilemetres of oceans, forests, deserts and skies. And the warehouses!!! They would be bigger than I can fathom! It seems like a fairy tale to have these foods. Imagineif we were to tell this story to someone a hundred years ago. Would they believe me that we can pretty much have everything all the time but for the cost of taste and nutrients? Would they chose this abundance over flavour and the satisfaction of sourcing and growing your own?  It wasn’t that long ago that an orange was a party trick for only the rich. 

I do this often. I load up my basket and ponder the implications. I stick my tongue in a blackberry and wonder who’s fingers were wrapped around it. How did they feel? Were they hot? Thirsty? Do they appreciate and love these blackberries or are they a means to an end? 

I’m pretty happy that I can think about these things and it doesn’t stress me out anymore. We are humans needing to eat and we do what we have to, like any other animals, to survive. What matters most to me now is the actions I’m taking towards change and education combined with what I am doing most of the time. Am I increasingly improving?  We can’t suddenly change and have ourselves be in the perfect place. There’s a process. And each step in that process is going to be glorious as we make the connections. You can tell instantly when it happens. You become centred and ready for the next step. 

Every day I learn new ways to live in a system that supports itself. I don’t see that happening any time soon but I feel a part of its development and I’m excited to see how much further our children will take it. 


When Salty Meets Sweet

I found myself in a batch of granola today. Instantly, for one moment, I knew how to be in the world. There was something about the way the oats absorbed the ingredients so willingly without hesitation. I felt immersed in thoughts about the butter coming from a cows udder and how someone was in tune enough to foresee that they could separate the milk and whip it into delicious energy rich fat. 

And the maple syrup! We can buy it anywhere and every drop of it comes from a tree! We can drain the trees “blood” and it continues to make more and live for hundreds of years while lending us its energy source full of minerals. It just makes more. 

The whole crunchy granola process always brings my entire being back. It’s such a simple process but it demands my mindful attention. If I lose focus, I burn my granola and I have to cry and start over. I usually set a timer as well as commit to being in the kitchen, present with it. I like to add salt as a contrast to the sweetness. I love life’s contrasts. Sweety sweetness and the salty saltiness. In their differences, they make the other one stand out.  They hold true to what they are without apology. Salt doesn’t attempt to be sweet but it can go along with it perfectly. They are strong together and if we are able to embrace them and feel the balance they hold we will feel a certain feeling that we don’t have a name for. Different cultures have different words for this balance. I wish we did. For now, I call it a true “mmmm” said with a shiver running up through my body. 

What kind of food would it be if the chef said “no, we cannot combine those ingredients because they are too different”?

And so there I was. In the granola I discovered that I can be me and anyone can be them. And together we are so strong with salty and sweet and we welcome in sour and bitter and please let there be spicy along the way. And don’t get me started on colours and textures, oh my! We need them all. 

Because it takes all kinds. 

What Wants To Grow 

I often think about what the next step is. I realize that with everything, there’s always further to go. I am never done. My actions and opinions right now are going to evolve past what I am currently doing… 
I’ve been working at the warehouse in Moose Jaw a lot lately. I hold the foods we have so abundantly and I wonder what the next step is to the way we are purchasing foods from farmers and how we are eating now. 

Working with farmers, has given me a new perspective on what it means to eat local. Eating farm fresh food is life changing and enhancing for the farm but it isn’t the end. And to be honest, often it isn’t enough. There is so much more we can do than just buy their foods and products. We can begin to understand how to purchase rather than just choosing what to purchase. 

I ponder this a lot. Especially as I’m sorting through 6 large Rubbermaid bins of organs and bones along with hundreds  of pounds of fat. These foods have seriously fallen out of fashion. Which makes me wonder why. My 88 year old neighbour told me that liver was a treat enjoyed only at harvest time. And they looked forward to it. Now, many of us can’t stomach it. I’ve had to work hard to eat liver. I mix it with copious amounts of fresh herbs, Carmelized onions butter and cream. I like it more every time which is surprising considering it use to make me gag. 

I ponder this even more as a farmer calls and tells me he wants to sell something at a loss just to get rid of it. And I feel sad and then suddenly empowered to explain to people why it is imperative they eat 3 dozen eggs a day each. And they do. Because I think they feel it too. 😆

I was asked the other day what Keith Neu, a farmer by Hudson Bay, should grow for us. While I felt honoured that We would be considered, I felt sad that my appetite would dictate what he grows. It seems impractical to grow something simply because I want to taste it. And trust me, I want to taste all the certain things but I’m having to shift my perspective but I see it’s not sustainable. Remember the rubbermaids of organs, bones and fat?

I can’t dictate what he grows simply because, I have no idea what wants to grow. I don’t understand his soil or the way the wind falls on it. He does. And who knows what the unique season will bring? Maybe he’ll plant my favourite squash but tomatoes will overrun instead. 

I often get farmers asking if we should lower the prices to get people to purchase more of something specific, such as lamb. The prices were already set after careful calculations that would dictate what they need in order to continue to run the farm. I hesitate to allow this to happen, where someone is selling me themselves short. I think we need many strategies. Diversity. Nature is strongest with many ways. We need education, to help people understand why and what to eat along with understanding and assistance for people that cannot afford this food. And that will mean all the food: nose to tail. Root to leaf? I’m hoping we will strike a balance with those ideas along with the ones other people will bring to the sturdy legged farm table. 

 If we want to produce enough ethical food to feed us all, we are going to have to embrace what wants to grow. I want to be able to tell our farmers to grow what they love to sow. Plant it deep without expectation or attachment. Know that whatever comes, I support you in it fully and I will eat it. That is what I want them to grow for us. His wisdom and experience and insights into his land should have a lot more leverage than my desires. Because my desires are changing. I want what grows. 

It’s gonna take all kinds 

This could be interesting…I’ve committed to blogging everyday. That means you will all be subject to whatever demons I am battling that day as well as the inspirations that are lifting me up. 

Lately these words have been coming to me: it’s gonna take all kinds. 

I saw someone in the grocery store. She us d language I disagreed with. That’s ok, because it’s gonna take all kinds. 

I exerienced someone who has totally different political beliefs than me. Rock on. 

It’s gonna take all kinds. 

Someone disagrees strongly with the food I put in my face. I got yer back. 

It’s gonna take all kinds. 

My ideas are ignored and someone uses only theirs. Great! 

It’s gonna take all kinds.

Because that is exactly how nature works and how it gains strength: with diversity. And I don’t mean diversity as more, by complicating things and creating sooo much. No. Diversity combined with simplifying by taking the path of least resistance. It may seem lazy to do what’s easier, but the goals we need to achieve are hard enough as it is. The tasks for them can be easier. I don’t always know how but I wait and eventually I just see it and then I do it. The Wandering Market has not been easy at all but it was because I didn’t always see what needed to happen. Or I tried to force it. Or I just didn’t know. You done know till you try. Just like I don’t totally know the point I am trying to make. But that’s ok. And if you disagree with me, that’s great. Because it’s going to take all kinds. Including you. 

Picture by Mariana Brito at The Backyard in Regina.