Despite all the articles written about how e never follow through with resolutions created at this time of year, we set them anyway. And I like that. I like naming the things I want to shoot for, there is magic in doing so.
With that said though, this post isn’t about resolutions per se, as much as its about planting seeds into your consciousness for the new year. Food Practice seeds. Has a lovely ring to it doesn’t it?
My gift to you for this new year is a list of words. These are words we should all be talking about, investigating, and weaving into the fabric of our food lives. They build community, awareness, political responsibility and when taken to heart, good good food. These words are more then just a movement, they are a return to Life. Life lived wide awake, sensually, connected, and beauty filled. You think I’m kidding? Trust me, I’m not.
Food Practice Words For The New Year
Food practice is the conscious devotional approach to food; its acquisition, preparation, sharing and taking in. It’s about understanding the energetic forces at play when you intentionally make a meal, as well as knowing the receptive bonding that takes place when gathered at the dinner table with those you love. Food practice is part knowledge, part politic, part sensuality and a big dose of presence. 2012 is the year of Food Practice, and you can be sure you’ll be getting much more on this growing philosophy and approach to food.
Farm To Table
This has sprung from the local food movement and refers the path food takes from its origins at the farm. Farm To Table is concerned with the shortest route from farm to your table, which speaks to locally produced food making it into the hands of local consumer in the quickest way possible. This would normally be through CSAs, Farmer’s Markets, and local food coops. The idea here is to support your local farmer through buying your fresh whole foods directly from them, or as directly as possible. This makes your food fresher, and helps support the local economy as well as your nourishment quality. For more information, go here.
Farm To Fork
Another name for Farm To Table.
“Slow Food is a global, grassroots organization with supporters in 150 countries around the world who are linking the pleasure of good food with a commitment to their community and the environment. A non-profit member-supported association, Slow Food was founded in 1989 to counter the rise of fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world. Today, we have over 100,000 members joined in 1,300 convivia – our local chapters – worldwide, as well as a network of 2,000 food communities who practice small-scale and sustainable production of quality foods.” This comes from the main Slow Food International Site. I recommend you visit it, read through it, dig yourself deep into the gorgeous movement that this is and then go to Slow Food USA. There you’ll find out more of what is going on State side, and you can find local chapters around the country to join and participate with. I belong to Slow Food Maui, and it’s already been an inspiring ride.
From LocalHarvest.org:Over the last 20 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a “membership” or a “subscription”) and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season. This arrangement creates several rewards for both the farmer and the consumer. In brief: Advantages for farmers:
- Get to spend time marketing the food early in the year, before their 16 hour days in the field begin
- Receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm’s cash flow
- Have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow
Advantages for consumers:
- Eat ultra-fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits
- Get exposed to new vegetables and new ways of cooking
- Usually get to visit the farm at least once a season
- Find that kids typically favor food from “their” farm – even veggies they’ve never been known to eat
- Develop a relationship with the farmer who grows their food and learn more about how food is grown
This site offers comprehensive information on various forms of CSA’s across the country, links to other countries and also a directory of CSAs that have registered with them, giving you a chance to find one near you. Go here for more information. Our CSA is Kula Fields.
According to Wikipedia, Organic foods are foods that are produced using methods that do not involve modern synthetic inputs such as synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers, do not contain genetically modified organisms, and are not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives. There are quite a few levels of certifications available to farms depending on what they do or don’t do to their crops. Its something very deeply worth educating yourself on. My personal opinion is that biodynamic crops are best. Look it up!
Along with CSAs, Farmer’s Markets are the best way to get your food directly from the source. Farmers in a local region will come together once or twice a week to sell their goods at a centralized location in a town or city. Its the epitome of Farm To Table, and a great way to get to know your local farmers. Nothing creates community like knowing your farmer, having an ongoing awareness of what is in season and what they are planting. Know. your. food. Oh… and prices? For organic fresh whole foods, often much much cheaper then any local market! Go here for a listing of markets in your area.
This is another buzz word to basically describe most of what is covered above. Locally sourced is important. Why? Because it supports your local economy. This is where the political aspect of food comes in. You vote with your money. Where you spend your cash speaks volumes about what is important to you. Small privately owned farms, producing high quality organic food are in severe danger of becoming overtaken by big business agriculture, which typically only grow one or two crops, use genetically modified crops and because of this, can’t possibly be organic, because such crops require pesticides. This is a very complex issue, and I encourage you to do research on this for yourself.
My first introduction to Food Swaps was when I was in Pennsylvania to do the photo shoots for this book. Anni Daulter, the writer of the book, hosted the Food Swap in her farm community and I was there to capture quite a bit of it on film. It was a fun evening and such a great experience in bounty sharing and community building. A Food Swap is basically a gathering where people of a local community come together to place their home grown or home made food bounties for display and swap out their goods for others. Everyone goes home with an amazing assortment of goods… all fresh, all local and all home grown. Go here for more information on how to run a Food Swap event, and if there are any happening near you.