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Negative Food Stories: Opportunities for Relationship

Food is nourishment.  Food is connection.  

Good days, bad days, celebrations, mourning.  Food is there.  It can be a burden, an obligation met by busybody, overstressed workers, parents, caregivers.  It can be a relief, a comfort, a joy; a refuge to hide away, to spend all the time one’s heart desires to craft the shapes, and flavours, and undertones of a remembered but distant dish–of remembered people, places, experiences.  

And of new ones.

Food can be the poverty of an empty table.  It can be the extravagance of waste and excess.

Food can be dreaded.  It can be hoped for.

~~~~~

I attended a [food-]storytelling workshop yesterday.  Parts of the words above came from my scribbled thoughts to the free-write prompt: What does food mean to you?

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Food is fundamental and vital for life.  We need it (and we need to grow/gather/cultivate it) to survive, to live, to thrive.  Food can be a source of nourishment not only physically or biologically, but also for the soul.  Traditional foodways and meals can bring back good memories and warm fuzzy feelings.  We like to eat.

These things we know.  And often we hold them as universally applicable to all.  After all, everyone eats, right?

Enjoying a potluck lunch with the crew

Enjoying a potluck picnic lunch with the crew

Talking with a friend at the storytelling workshop about our personal stories of food and “food stories” in general, the topic emerged of Hey, wait a minute.  Not everyone has a positive relationship or association with food.  

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Being at Rest

It’s a Pro-D (professional development) Day at David Thompson today.  Oh, how calm it is.

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Guess what?  I got my rainbow carrots photo!

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These past two weeks, we’ve had a bounty of these colourful root veggies.  I can’t help but be in awe of their beauty.

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The Constancy of Change

“I hate change.”  Hanne and I are wheeling back from the compost bin just before lunch.

“I LOVE change!”  Hanne exclaims.  Sometimes I wish that I, too, had a slightly stronger predilection for change and transition.

I remember this brief conversation that we had a few weeks back, with a smile and touch of nostalgia.  

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Harvest News

Remember those rainbow carrots we’d been waiting on?  The first harvest of those guys happened last week!  Sadly, it was also the week that school started, so I missed that glorious harvest day.  But the important thing is… RAINBOW CARROTS!

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This week, we harvested some pretty handsome komatsuna, green onions, and a big batch of beautiful beets!  Amongst other fresh goodness.

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Heart in my hands

Well, school has officially started, and that means that I’ll be at the farms less.

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Revenge is sweet like beets

Rain Kissed

It’s on cold, wet days like these that I am thankful for the standing water in my tub that drains at the speed of a drunken tortoise.  I am thankful for the extra moments of lapping warmth that my numb feet get to soak in.  I stop, and I stand for a minute to enjoy it.  Wiggle my toes in it.  Ahh.

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Harvest News

The spinach is back!

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We were suppose to be offering it as “baby spinach”, but… after the crazy storm this past weekend, it kinda wasn’t really baby anymore.  More like humungous spinach.  “The spinach got drunk on water,” Gerson said.

Spinach bed post-harvest. This is pretty much how big the spinach was last week, before the deluge...

Spinach bed, post-harvest. The spinach wasn’t much bigger than this last week, and then the deluge poured down over the weekend…

Harvesting spinach this week had a touch of poignancy for me.  Spinach was the very first crop we as interns learned to harvest–pick each leaf one by one near the base of the stem, check underside for ickiness, check for yellowing on the leaf edge, practice a two-handed motion, leave the tiny leaves for regrowth… I remember feeling so sore in my shoulders and back from bending over the beds so much to pluck spinach.  Over the season, my body has gradually gotten used to it.

Dennis and Scott harvest parsley in the sea of green and rain

Dennis and Scott harvest parsley in the sea of green and rain

Big beautiful beets are back, too!

Big beautiful beets are back, too!

Hanne, Gerson, Cass and I reminisced about another wet day early in the season when we harvested spinach.  We took turns going inside the school to run our hands under warm water, and ended up bringing a tote full of it outside.  From March spinach, to September spinach.  The leaves taste of the same heartiness, only rain kissed.  Seasons do come full circle, they do.

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Cass stands triumphantly with our expatriated weeds and retired bean plants

Deep Roots Draw Up: An Epic.

I’ve just returned from a week-long family road trip to Alberta.  

The land of wild roses, giant dandelion-like globes that I am mystified by, and glacial waters that call my heart to calm and new breath.

Returning

The body – in need of a readjusting to the rhythms of the farm.  

To lifting, and bending, and yanking.

The soul – inspired once more by weeds.

They kinda are my thing.

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Kingdom of My Heart

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9 o’clock.

Wheelbarrow filled with buckets hungry for expatriated weeds, hands ready to hit the soil,

I plop to the ground beside the bed of rainbow carrots,

Knees up against the damp alleyway strewn with grass-suppressing burlap.

Ready to weed, I am!

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Big and Small

Big and small.  

Small and Big.  

Never one-size-fits all.

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Harvest News

A smaller harvest this week meant enjoying the unfamiliar feeling of being unrushed.  ‘Twas much appreciated!

Getting ready to swish-swish frisee

Javi and Cass – getting ready to swish-swish frisee

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Harvest blades

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A Green Bean Story

“Look!  A four-leaf clover!”  Alicia finds a rare gem hidden in the bean bush.

“You should keep it!”  

“No, I’ll leave it here so that its gene pool can remain… maybe there’ll be more four-leaf clovers.”

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Harvest News

Many of the usual culprits were arrested from the field this week: carrots, kale, chard, lettuce, parsley, spring mix, mustards, turnips, radishes.  So guilty are they, each week, of being beautiful and yummy.

Raxe

 

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Scott and Ilana harvest some human-sized chard!

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Food Narratives: Boundary lines and Bridges

What is one thing that your mom’s pantry always has?  

We smiled as many shared reminiscently about childhood pantries filled with boxes of fruit roll-ups, packaged dinners, pre-made convenience foods that we all knew.  I thought of the bright yellow powdered chicken stock, dotted with green flecks of something (some dried herb perhaps), that my mom always had.  “It adds umami,” she’d always say, in Chinese.

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Harvest News

It seems that our days are filled with bright colours.  We harvested some intensely red Raxe radishes this week.

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Life is full of hello’s and goodbye’s.  We said hello to bush beans–a humble but nonetheless happy first harvest.  And we said goodbye to beets–we sowed the last beet seeds of the season, a variety called Winter’s Keeper (its name tells much).  Though it will still be a while before we get to harvest and enjoy those baby beets, we were reminded of how fast the season is moving.  Not much more planting to do…

"Hello beans, Goodbye beets," says Hanne.

“Hello beans, Goodbye beets,” says Hanne.

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