Thursday, August 28, 2008


The past couple of days have been interesting... I acquired a chest freezer, went to the market and bought $200 worth of veg, husked 60 cobs of corn tonight and am loving every minute of this experience!
So let's catch up...
I bought 10 heads of cauliflower, 10 heads of broccoli, 6 quarts of green and yellow beans and 7 dozen cobs of corn. I have spent the last two night blanching. Likely anyone else reading this would know what that is, but I had no idea! It was boiling a huge pot of water and immersing the veg for just one minute - then dunking it in cold water so it stops cooking - letting it dry and then bagging it for the freezer. For the amount of veg I now have in my freezer, I don't even think it took a lot of time or effort. Cutting the corn of 60 cobs got a bit repetitive tonight, but even that was fun! I'm curious to see how long some of this will last through the winter. I'm tempted to buy the same amount next week and stock up even more!
I aslo bought a bin of blueberries which I have frozen and 6 quarts of strawberries - which I also froze after removing the stems. So my freezer is on its way to sustaining me throughout the winter months.
My base of knowledge in the area of food is slowly growing and I am constantly eager to learn more. Food gardens in schools has become my new project which I will speak more of in days to come.
Pictured above is the great dichotemy between traditional food and industrial agriculture.
On the right is my first heirloom tomato (that I bought at the market!) - in stark contrast to the more nicely shaped and coloured tomato that we all know well on the left! I ate my first heirloom tomato today with a bit of feta on top. Words are inadequate to describe the explosion of flavour in my mouth! Who knew a tomato could taste so rich and meaty?!? It may be the ugly duckling of tomatoes, but it has definitely won me over!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Back in Ontario...

I'm slowly making the readjustment to the daily routine of work and life here in Haliburton. It's good to be home, yet I have come home with some new perspectives and a renewed inspiration that is causing many questions to come to light. Change is good, and I am excited to implement some of the learning that I have taken in over the last 3 weeks.
When I started this journey, it was focused primarily on food miles - that food traveled too far leading to an increased negative impact on the environment. A local diet would help alleviate some of those food miles.
But as I have begun reading Michael Pollan's new book In Defense of Food, I'm seeing a different side to this issue. Pollan argues that the food that we are buying in grocery stores is not really
food - he refers to this as nutritionism. Basically, scientists have removed individual nutrients from whole foods and made them food in and of themselves. (this description might be a little off, but I'm still reading the book!) Anyway, we're basically consuming nutrients now instead of food. The danger in this is that we've extracted and added so many things into the processed food we eat, that we don't fully understand the affect this may be having on our health. what we do know, is that obesity is on the rise, diabetes is on the rise, and food-related cancers are on the rise as well as heart disease. His rule of thumb is that if there are names on the ingredient label that you can't even pronounce, you're in trouble.
He suggest we eat by 7 simple words...
Eat food. Not a lot. Mostly plants.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Back to Ontario...

It has been awhile since my last entry, as I have been out in Victoria for the last 3 weeks starting my Masters in Environmental Education and Communication. It has been difficult to stick with a local diet out here because of the hectic pace of school, but I have managed to find local honey, lots of fresh veggies, and best of all, wild pacific smoked salmon! So it's been a fun experience.
As I have started this program, food has played a prominent role in conversations surrounding the environment. Within our first few days, we chose a topic that we wanted to explore more in depth, and four of us chose food... specifically, attempting to implement a nation-wide organization that helped put food gardens into schools across Canada. We tailored it in the end to focus on Ontario, but a couple of us would like to pursue this further to see what kind of grants are out there to actually put this into practice. Fritjov Capra, who works for the Centre for Ecoliteracy in Berkeley, California, sums it up well.
"Learning in the school garden is learning in the real world at
its very best. It is beneficial for the development of the individual student
and the school community, and it is one of the best ways for children to
become ecologically literate and thus able to contribute to building a
sustainable future."
I am looking forward to coming home and eating some fresh Ontario produce!