*please note as you read the following, that I am not being "new age-y", becoming a vegetarian, or any type of activist. These convictions I believe come from the Holy Spirit. God has given us only 1 earth, and 1 body...and we need to care for it to the best of our ability.
I've been reading this book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, by Barbara Kingsolver. It's basically a challenge to grow and consume locally grown foods, as opposed to contributing to the "petroleum-driven industrial food wagon". What she means is that "the average food item on a US grocery shelf has traveled farther than most families go on their annual vacations". If you really stop and think of the food you get from the grocery store, where it was produced (most likely in mass production), how far it had to travel and everything that goes into the process in-between, it makes sense why we are where we are in America (need for more petroleum, obesity, governments debt issue, etc.).
So really, I have 2 soapboxes, if you will, that I'm going to discuss: 1.) how is that affecting the big picture (our nation) and what can I do about it (i.e., start buying more locally - Farmers Markets, garage sales/thrift stores, etc.). and 2.) how much do we waste compared to what we consume.
In Kingsolver's book, she has many reasons of why it's important to grow your own food, or if that's not possible, buy from your local farmers as much as you can. One of them is that it's obviously so much healthier, but another is that the food you buy did not have to waste a lot of gas to get to your kitchen (along w/ many other environmental issues that go with that). Another point that I really like is that she believes our kids' generation have lost the art of knowing the whole process of agriculture and our dependence on it. She gave an example of a kid who was watching her husband pull a carrot out of the ground and the boy was in shock. He did not understand that's where some of our food comes from. I grew up on a some what farm in rural Kansas. And although I hated working in the garden, I always anticipated how good it was going to taste. I am also proud that I have a small understanding of how things are grown and can appreciate farmers who work so hard. Something Kingsolver really believes in, is only eating things IN SEASON! Wow, I don't think I had ever thought about it. Due to our gardens in the summer as a kid, I kind of know what's in season, but could only give a short list. The fruits are a little harder for me. One thing she says about this is, "the most difficult requirements are patience and a pinch of restraint". Because it is so easy to walk into a grocery store and pick up anything you want in the produce section, whenever you want it, it's a completely new concept to restrain yourself from buying something if it's not "in season". To understand why it's important to buy in season...check out the movie, "Food, Inc."
I do not foresee us having a huge garden next year, mainly b/c we have SO much yard work to do before we can do that. But I hope we can grow a few things, and also teach B some biology of plants along the way. I want him to know (someday) that food does not just come from the grocery store! I really do desire to become more acquainted with what is in/out of season for produce and try and stick to it as close as possible. It may require some major changes in our diets.
So this brings me to my next conviction...how much do we waste compared to how much we consume. Oprah had a re-run on this the other day. Check out this video to learn more about people called "Freegans". I'm not gonna lie, it intrigues me, yet not sure if I could be gutsy enough. ?? Even in our own house, on a weekly basis, we throw out way too much food. Some food does not hardly even get touched before it spoils. I hate that. Not only will it help our budget if I restrain buying the extra things/too much at the grocery store, but again, it impacts the bigger picture. One of the couples that were interviewed on Oprah (I don't think they were shown on the video above) said that she only prepared meals based on stuff that was on sale for that week. She had it down to where she could prepare an entire meal for the whole family for under a couple bucks $$. Wow!!
To be honest, this conviction does not just stop in the kitchen. I've been thinking about my desire/lust to buy other "things". Yes, it would be amazing to have an IPad, or a newer phone, or splurge on some new shoes, but I know I don't need any of it and it's just more clutter. All of this ties into where I am I laying my treasure? In Heaven or here on earth? (Please know these are MY convictions and I am not trying to guilt anyone else)
So what kind of changes are we making?? Here's a list of what we have done/hoping yet to do...
- be more consistent in utilizing the MANY local farmers markets here in Denver
- buy more organic food at the store, along w/ buying food that I know are locally grown to help support our farmers
- try and eat 1-2 vegetarian meals per week
- re-adjust our grocery budget and make some major cut backs
- start preparing an area so we can have a small garden next summer
- try not to waste food we've bought and eat more left overs (I hate leftovers, so this a stretch for me)
- begin learning which produce is in/out of season - and try to ONLY buy those in season
...but tasted nasty. I believe Jamie was able to finish his, but I couldn't handle it, I was gagging the entire time. We ended up throwing out the other pan. :(
But I was happy with out these turned out this afternoon. I made Root Vegetable Chips.
I obviously used a root vegetable, a sweet potato. But you can try potatoes, carrots, parsnips, rutabagas, beets, kohlrabi or turnips. I cut them in slices, then tossed them in Olive Oil, then lightly put salt and pepper on them, then put them in the oven (400 degrees) for 10 minutes. I flipped them over and then did another 10-12 minutes. So healthy - yet so tasty!! I even dipped them in hummus, which was good.
So here's to say that I hope we can make some changes in the George household and stick to them. I am not making any promises, but we do hope to try. We'll keep you posted...