Inspired by Betty Londergan's What Gives 365 and the Bible (not necessarily in that order!), I'm giving away $250 a week in 2011.

This is where I'm recording that journey, and I hope you'll come along for the ride.

Friday, October 14, 2011

With Thanks for the Local Harvest

I love to eat. I also love to shop at markets and to cook, but I especially love to eat. And lately, one of my daughters is very much into cooking (specifically baking cupcakes, although she's a very good veggie chopper too). She and I had a ton of fun at a local food swap recently. We showed up with 12 jars of our tasty 24-ingredient high fibre granola, and left with a bin full of gloriousness: pumpkin spice doughnuts, coconut chocolate cherry granola bars, baba ghanouj, zucchini bread, lavender bath salts (to bathe in, not to eat -- but the herbs were home-grown), butter tarts and maple glazed cinnamon buns. Beyond yummy. We've already signed up for the next one, and this time my daughter has her own table rather than sharing mine. She's made lists of possible recipes already, and it's six weeks away.

It's Thanksgiving season here, and this year I am immensely grateful not only to have enough food, and delicious food, and loved ones with whom to share it, but I'm also thankful to live in a community where local, accessible, real food is a priority. I'm not true, year-round locavore by a long shot -- I lack the self control for that, as I would miss bananas and coffee far too much (and OK, who am I trying to kid? I've eaten Swiss chocolate and American raspberries and Chinese tea while typing this!) -- but I do try to support local food producers as much as possible.

This was the first year in many that our family decided not to be part of CSA -- we were going to be away a lot this summer, and we couldn't find a local CSA that would let us opt out for certain weeks. We decided instead to shop more intentionally at local markets. Not long after that, we learned that a local farmers' market was opening at our kids' school, right in our neighbourhood! It's an initiative of the Food Roundtable in our area, which has been doing lots of interesting work, including developing a Food Charter. It's been such a pleasure enjoying local cheeses (even Haloumi, that I learned to love in Greece this spring!), fruits and veggies, the world's best lemon tarts, and fresh-baked sourdough bread to supplement the loaf already delivered to our door each week by our 'bread angel' each Wednesday. And of course the main market on Saturdays whenever we're in town.

But I still very much missed our CSA that we'd been part of in our previous town for many years. It's at Everdale Environmental Learning Centre. I loved going there -- choosing how to spend our 'veggie points' on the bounty that was always beautifully displayed, picking beans, cutting bouquets of flowers, buying eggs from Rosemary's chickens, admiring the draft horses, and inevitably running into someone I knew and having a friendly chat as we carried our loot to the car.

So this week, our local donation is going to Everdale. Karen and Gavin and the Dandy Girls, we miss you. But this donation is also for what Everdale represents: a community that is committed to finding creative and varied ways to support a local food economy. I love the local food, and the inspiration and conviction I encounter in the people I meet who grow it, cook with it and eat it.

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