I don't have a lot of time here tonight (because babies are sleeping and I have a warm bath with lavender salts waiting for me, and after that a movie with my love…), but I wanted to take a minute to talk about what we've been eating lately. We've been mostly-local eaters for some time now, but with the help of my dear friend B and her little family, a new fire has been lit. We're actually partnering up and sourcing out things, buying things in bulk for both our families, and together we're developing some guidelines for just how we should be eating this year. It's so nice to be in this with another family- it's newly motivating and makes us feel a little more purposeful. Anyway, it's not a science, but we are all about progress, not perfection. 😉
It's not as simple as just eating totally locally. We have pesticides to think about, etc. We also think this is a pretty toxic world, and so allowing for some things that are just good for us and can help protect us (like my insistence on the use of coconut oil) is something we've made our peace with. I'll be happy to divulge more about this project in the near future, but for now I really wanted to focus on a concept that's been rolling around in my head for some time.
I've been thinking a lot about false choices, and how imbalanced our life is in this culture. I'm learning about the way that life was designed. I see energy in, and then energy out. When someone looks at my garden and says "Oh, but isn't that a lot of work?" I have always felt a twinge of sadness. I didn't know why until recently. I felt like I had to tell people that it really isn't that much work- as though I were trying to sell it and package it up nicely so that people would want to do the same. I suppose I know what they mean. It takes probably less personal energy to go to the store, or to mow the grass that would be growing if it weren't all cultivated now. I suppose it would be less of my energy. But the thing that I'm starting to understand is that the work that goes into my garden is the energy that I take out. That is what it takes to grow food. Energy in, energy out. This is a closed loop system, here. Really, at the core, it's the energy that the sun gives us. In everything, that's what it comes down to. Sunshine and the basic elements that support life. We cannot create energy, and yet we've been behaving as though we can.
Anyway, I suppose I'm starting to realize that we've all been kidding ourselves. We have been tricked into believing that the energy that we rely on can come at a smaller price to us than nature has set. I think, in a short-sighted-disaster-looming kind of way, we're right. But we've just outsourced the energy, and ultimately we've taken out a sort of energy-loan that we can't possibly repay. It's all a bit overwhelming when I look at the ways we are truly hurting ourselves and our non-human neighbors, and we'll be feeling that hurt soon enough. But anyway, in simplest terms, I'm seeing the true importance in making an effort to regain the balance- to restore the exchange of energy between ourselves and what sustains us. Getting my hands dirty in my back yard is such a small step… it's a good one, but it's so small considering what we really need to heal this wound. And so when I hear something like "Isn't that so much work!?", I am going to try to respond with "It's how much work it takes."
The big moral of the story, here, is that we HAVE the energy to get what sustains us. We do, and we should. If all of us saw the work as necessary, we wouldn't be pricing it out and trying to figure out if it's worth our time or energy. It just is. I am not feeling very articulate tonight, and I don't feel like I've really done justice to this concept, but I hope that I've made a little sense. Anyway, this balance of energy is something I've been working on in many areas of my life- but it really makes sense when thinking about how to feed myself and my family. Thoughts are welcome.
Tonight's dinner- a very local summer meal: Sourdough toast, fried in butter and then topped with parmesan and a warm tomato, corn, basil and garlic salad. Side of roasted eggplant and okra, and some cottage cheese and sauerkraut. Only non-local and/or non-homegrown things was the parmesan and salt & pepper.