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Working with Farmers; thoughts. 

   

 I forced myself not to do food boxes this week. I worried I was letting people down or that I would lose customers but I knew it had to be done if I wanted to be able to be of good service 
It was starting to feel too fast on the road and too crowded in my office. I was quickly picking up food from farms and headed on to the next place flying by the seat of my pants. I can’t lose that connection of being able to have coffee and words and deep frying doughnuts spontaneously. 

Look at those yolks! The batter is totally coloured by yolks only!

  
  
  
I have to admit that with The Front Door starting to sell food boxes in the area, I thought I had to do more and be bigger and better. I’m glad I saw it before it killed me. I was able to step outside of it and consider what really matters. 

Getting good food to people along with working with farmers so they get a fair enough wage to make the work worth it. This is not an easy task. It’s very hard to compete with big business that have endless resources and cheap or free (machines) labour. This week, I’ve reminded some of my farmer friends that their work is so valuable and that they can charge grocery store prices or more. Whatever they need to pay for their inputs. Becuase if we don’t do this, the good food will be short lived and we will be back where we started with few options and most of them make me feel like I’m going to die. We need options. 

So, I’ve spent the week organizing, cleaning, preparing, staring into my children’s eyes as they speak and hanging out with friends who just happen to be producing amazing food. I love how the “farmers” are friends. I love how I’ve been able to work with them in a way that works for them, for me and for the customers. 

We’ve been able to work it so it’s not a simple me purchasing from them system but rather we can access what needs to happen on a much broader scale. Sometimes what they need is a good meal because they’ve been stuck in a barn or the field for 16 hours to produce food they may not get a chance to eat. Sometimes it is them telling me they have 90 dozen eggs and they need to move them, and so I take them and find a market for eggs. It’s all about listening to what wants to happen. Selling food hasn’t really been that hard. It’s something everybody needs. People have been very receptive to understand that we need to eat the abundance  and not expect to have everything all the time. Eating the abundance is essential to eating as locally as possible. We eat potatoes until we are so sick of them that the sight of potatoes makes us want to run. And then just like that, potatoes are done and the new abundance of fresh spring greens is exciting and so satisfying! You really feel the beautiful and miraculous shifts and changes of nature when you eat what is available. Along with coffee, chocolate and olive oil. 😉 

So, I’m excited for what’s next. I’m looking forward to pitching my tent in yards where chickens and baby pigs roam freely like at Sloughbottom Pastures and Prairie Pearl Homestead last year. I’m delighted by the idea of all the unexpected people that will come together for this amazing cause: GOOD FOOD. Because  food is life! If we don’t have good food to sustain and nourish us. What do we have? 

  
Here’s a picture of Clarissa’s broccoli because eating locally grown, buttery, not-sprayed broccoli in the winter makes me feel blessed. 
*Pictures of chickens and doughnuts: taken at Andrea’s. Or as we call her “On-it-Andrea” because she’s such a go getter and gets right on it.* 

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Uni-Power

  
  

I look at this picture and for the first time ever, I love my growing in Uni-brow. 
I started growing it (mostly out of forgetful laziness) but then justified by a certain power that needed to be harnessed within me. This goes back to those first shamings in junior high when the boys teased me about my excess facial hair on the first day of school. I went home that night and hacked away at it through tears from the blinding pain of ripping hairs from sensitive skin. It was only to please them that judged me and I continued to do it for 21 years. The shamings went on as an adult from past friends and boyfriends. As soon as it would start to grow in, the readings would commence. Sometimes It started even before the first signs of it. I wonder if they were afraid of how they would feel towards me if I were to be my natural, hairy self. It’s a strange thing. 
Now, as I look at my two young daughters I see the same strong traits of when Norweigans breed with Native people and I notice this uni-brow appearing in them as well. I think back and consider that there must have been many women before us who wore their faces proud and furry. I wonder how my daughters will feel about it in the future and I hope I can provide them with the circumstances that allow them to choose to uni or not, based on their own desires and not someone else’s. 
As I am allowing it to grow, I sit and stir and feel the discomfort of wondering if someone is staring at it as we talk. 😂The uni-brow is teaching me a lot. I have learned to feel comfort in the discomfort. I recommend mastering this comfortable discomfort as its the best survival skill possible. 

Uni-power to me! And to two eyebrows or no eyebrows or painted eyebrows or caterpillars or tattoo-brows or you cut your butt hairs and glued them to your face brow or whatever you desire … power to you!
  
  
 Beautiful uni-brow girls. 

Meeting the Challenges. 

  

These last few weeks have been very challenging and I’m worried that it’s starting to show in how I deal. That’s me. Hiding under a table after bagging over two thousand pound of fresh nuts and fruit in combination with tryin to sort out some major conflict with some people I care deeply about and it’s concerning the thing dearest to me: the local food movement. 

 I keep telling myself to wait and struggle on because it’s in the hard times that we grow and get better. 

I like these hard times for one thing: it helps me really understand and see people. It heightens what really matters. I get how hard it is for everyone and I just want to curl up in an armchair, with a bulletproof coffee, in front of them and let their stories wash over me. 

It’s during these times that I learn to be slow and thoughtful and patient with other people when they need to cancel an order or make changes or forget to pay me. 😂

Our stories are so important. We all want to be heard and considered. I think it’s part of what really defines us as humans. 

My story lately is that I’ve made A LOT of mistakes in the past few weeks and it leaves me wondering what the heck am I doing?  Does it matter? Do I care? What’s next?

Obviously I do if the mistakes upset me so much, I care so much. 

It’s time to get back to the basics. Simplify. 

What’s important? 

To be connected. 

How do I become connected? 

By listening to what wants to happen and doing it. What wants to happen is farmers with eggs, cabbage to shred, food to move, chickens to butcher, poop to shovel, gardens to plant and on and on. 

The purpose becomes becomes apparent to me when I see and hear from people and they tell me what these foods mean to them. Of course! These foods mean everything to me. They are the soil, the earth, the sky and the rain. They are what dreams and a good life are made of. They facilitate it all; life. I remember how different these foods are when I visit the boxed goods at coop. They are so easy and tempting yet they always let me down with lacking in flavour and excelling in making me feel like crap. 

I never thought it would be so much work to move another persons hard work. I often think about the work with so many steps involved in the food. 

I look down at a stick of butter at the grocery store… Even at $7 lb I wonder how so much could go into something for so little. A farmer with only a few cows could get only a few lbs of butter a day. How can they compete with the feed lots of thousands and the machines to process it all? And at what cost does this happen? Handmade food is so sacred. 

I was at the grocery store the other day and was consumed by both how expensive food is and how cheap it is at the same time! 

If you actually think about what something is, from its origin to its end, you begin to wonder how one can even put a price on it. It seems ridiculously cheap as you hold a kilo of bacon and yoi consider all the hands of farmers and food handlers as well as all the animals and industrial stuff involved. It’s a life you hold in your hand and it’s on sale for $7.99. The shrimp rings are $12.99 and that’s like twenty lives!  But then I think about how much of each product/life we need to survive and it feels expensive. I don’t know what’s the truth and what the answer is but I know it is ok to continue on with what I do know and just keep improving on that. 

I know that supporting the farmers is good. Supporting them means paying what they ask, or more, because most farmers aren’t asking enough to pay themselves more than wayyyyyyy below minimum wage. Are they super vulnerable people to have to compete with the big guys? And they work sooooo hard, to the point of fall down exhaustion at the end of every day. Maybe we can find a way to make it a little easier. Maybe we can lend a hand and enjoy all the beautiful food that comes with it. These simple things are the reasons we are here; to be a part of what is happening. To wake up and ask what needs to be done today. I’m ready. Are you?  

 

*Green Sister Garden Greens*

How do ethics work at The Wandering Market? Pricing, sourcing and more. 

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This isn’t something a business is suppose to tell you. Profit and sources are secret. But this isn’t a regular business and I’m not aiming to be “professional”. Have you seen my selfies? 

This business is for the people. It’s for the people that have gone too long eating subpar food that may not even be food. This is for the people that are ready to awaken their senses and return to their kitchens. 

It looks to me that Cultures revolve around food. How it’s prepared and how it’s shared. What type of culture do we want to be? Fast and easy and disconnected from source and processed to death? Or do we want to be full of life and flavour and excitement and feeling connected? Do want to ring in each morning with the seasons gifts or a box of Cheerios? 

That has always been the bottom line for me: Good food to the people.  It’s what I refer back to all the time like when we are discussing whether to share our sources or not. Yes, we will share our sources with you, when the producer allows it. Because the main goal is to get the foods out there. It’s good for the producer, the customer and it’s good for me. Supporting the producer, allows them to continue and grow. The more people finding real food, the more they will find real food! It doesn’t end and I will always have a place in it. People have to eat and that’s no fad. I also figure that if I am no longer needed to source a certain thing, then it pushes me to look for something else.

The best message I have received recently was someone telling me that between Christina (at The Front Door little home store in Moose Jaw) and I, they aren’t really going to the grocery store.

It’s worth it.

We are strong in numbers. 

So, how does our pricing work?

We don’t have an exact mark up on anything and we don’t have exact prices on products. Aren’t we flaky? Hah! Different producers have different prices and sometimes the cost to go get them can vary. 

Also, prices fluctuate as something is in its prime and scarce, like baby potatoes will be in a few months and then it shifts as they become large and abundant and potatoes become cheap. 

Sometimes, a farmer will just needs to get rid of something and will give us a deal that I am able to pass on to the customers. 

If I were selling single items, I would need to increase the price by 50-100% or more  to cover my costs and time. So, the value of a product is 50-100% higher than what I pay. That’s what we would sell it for individually. I also am always keeping up with what other places are charging and basing it on that. I check local farms websites, grocery stores, markets and health food stores for reference.

Doing the food boxes has made it so much easier to charge an affordable price, because we are dealing in bulk and putting the same orders together with the minor substitutions that we are happy to accommodate. 

With the food boxes, we have been able to get away with making $20-$50 on a food box. The more boxes we sell, the less we can charge. Or rather, Usualy it works out that I am able to add in more product at the end. 

I’m still figuring a lot of this out and it’s been an amazing experience. I’m consulting with professionals and taking advice. I’ve never done anything where I have worked so hard and had it been so worth it. 

I’m so humbled by all the people that are responding to us and all The Front Doors popping up in Moose Jaw and Regina with their local foods for sale out of their homes. 

Let’s eat. 

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One year of food boxes; wandering and marketing from farm to folk. 

  

The Wandering Market food boxes are one year old! 

It’s amazing to me to think that it started with me making up food packages for a friend because she was having a hard time and now she is actually in the process of making up her own food boxes to distribute. 

So much can happen in a year. 

The more I dive in, the more I realize that this is for me. 

You can recognize when something is for you because you wake up pumped with adrenaline and ready to start the day because of a trip planned to a farm or simply because a thousand pounds of cabbage waits for you, there’s no life direction to question. 

  
The support I have received for food boxes has been outstanding. I’m so humbled by all the people who want to eat more mindfully. It has made all my desires of sourcing and being involved in my food possible. I’m always surprised when people thank me for being able to purchase a food box and I remember that this is really good for other people too. And so, I’ll carry on building and connecting and overcoming the challenges when it looks like this:

  

Some of the biggest challenges we have overcome have been keeping foods the appropriate temperatures, funding large food purchases and figuring out how to be organized in ordering and purchasing. 

We are still working on all of this and I’m excited for the future where we can reach even more people with amazing small farm foods. 

I have so many ideas and inspirations flowing to get more people involved. 

I feel like this is growing into something bigger than just our family’s small little wandering market and will become a coming together of community and a new and desperately needed food culture. 

Most days, I look like this: 

 
And this:

  
Thank you. 

Connecting to your life; to all of life.

*warning: pictures of dead moose below*
I woke up feeling the pull of those familiar down dark feelings. I knew I could easily go there and rest in it in my bed with a promiseless coffee and a meaningless show to pass the time. 

Until I remembered my epiphany from the other day when I saw the light return to my mothers face after months and months of it being abscent. I witnessed her energy go from a haunting sadness to full of life. It happened after she successfully hunted the moose. She called to tell me and I knew she was back. Her energy fed mine through the hills with a truckload of the farmers glorious, nourishing foods for the people. 

Michael was away already even though it was Saturday. He had asked me a few days ago how I felt about him helping a neighbour to shingle his roof rather than give his time to the family. I knew it was important for him to connect to community and to helping another man and that it was for us too. It meant a lot to me that he would want to do this and that he would ask me. By supporting him, I support. But today, I was wondering what was in store for me. 

So, I asked myself what I could do this day that would bring me alive. I am knowing more and more that when I do these things, lack of sleep or improper nutrition become irrelevant and I become immersed in what it means to be on this planet and be a part of it. 

Today, it means I’ll support my mother and the life she ended so that we can have ours and it all can go on. We will dismember and do what so many have forgotten yet it was so vital only 50 years ago on the reserve she grew up on. Hunting meant eating or not eating. It meant abundance and health and happiness. Success was layed out in the bones and the generations that they fed.

I felt that and I made a giant roast out of one of the legs. It is about 15 pounds or more. I’ll make a big supper for everyone and anyone to celebrate nothing and everything all at once.

In this way, a roast can heal me. I’ve cured so many ailments and deeply seeded hurts, simply be being immersed in the activities of busy hands together, working and living and eating. I rediscover the magic in it every single time. 

I wonder if that was how early settlers and the early native people felt when they pursued the tasks which kept them alive? Did they resent the chopping of  wood or the massive harvesting of food? 

Have I simply become in love with using my hands to provide for us becuase it’s a novelty and I need to? 

I could go to the grocery store and my belly would be fed but would my being feel satisfied? Would I wake with purpose and passion?

I think I need to do this more than ever before. 

I’ve been struck by this feeling that maybe the decline of our food system, the loss of natural lands witj  

the abandoning of making our own beds has happened to such an extreme degree so that we could rediscover how amazing and connecting it feels not to outsource our lives.    
    
   

Living with purpose, on purpose.

And so it will come to be that you will experience times of feeling down and low. The crappyness of it all will permeate your entire existence and you’ll sigh and wonder what’s the point. Maybe you’ve become aware enough by now to see this pattern and you’ll sit with your feelings and watch them. 

I do.

I watch my irritation with noises and messes and things out of place. I want to force everything back into order. I want my children to be still and quiet and not jumping and yelling and demanding. 

I watch it. I look for an escape. 

I look at the baby, and she penetrates me with her deeply dark brown eyes. And I remember my purposes. I rememeber the promise for kindness, compassion and a life lived with love and excitement. 

  • I breathe deep and re-commit to it. Because it does matter. Because there will be destruction and things I don’t like and I can make it better even if just by a little. It’s what we do. It’s how we’ve gotten here. With a desire for greatness. But our definition of greatness has been confused with our external surroundings. But there’s still time to go inside and make a home with everything. With everyone. It’s not all here for me to judge but rather to embrace my gift of life and be in it, with my dislikes and all.  I’ve discovered that I can enjoy my dislikes and take them as part of it all. I can breathe in and out my fears of not being good enough and letting people down. It doesn’t exist. There’s only pushing forward with my hearts desire for connection and turning into tangible things we can do and eat. It flows through me so easily when I do this. From farm to folk. My hands small actions will become the things that my descendents will ponder and tell stories about. They will let themselves be overcome with my struggles and my private pains along with remembering the plants I adrored and the meals I made.
    Our day to day tasks are so  much more important than we think. They are the building blocks for the future. Without them, there is no future home for more to build on. They will build on our lives and do better than we did. 

I’ll re-commit to those purposes a million thousand times a day if I have to.
 I have to.