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.