I often find myself worrying about the sustainability of my lifestyle. I am amazed at the amount of plastic in my home. I am embarassed at the frequency with which I shop at the dollar store. I don’t understand why my natural tendancy is to replace rather than fix things.
Several years ago I made a decision to educate myself on how to live and survive in this world. Ok. So I don’t know how to make soap and I still buy Windex to clean with. But! I started gardening. I made a renewed effort to cook everything from scratch. I bought all my food as locally as possible. I furnished my home with hand-me-down furniture. I tried to fix broken things myself before spending any money on something new. I find that unless I perpetually commit to this goal it is too easy to slip back into the western way of thinking (I also occasionally resent this goal of mine. I want new things. I want to hire people to do things. I want to replace and not fix. My upbringing, my surroundings and my very nature seem to rebel against what I often know to be the better way. It is a constant struggle… which I often lose.)
I find it especially challenging to continue to commit to eating locally. I live in Winnipeg. It looks like this outside for about five months of the year.
So my big question lately has been: How do you eat locally all year round in a climate like ours? I have decided that this coming summer I am going to once again do my damndest to dehydrate, freeze, can, store and stock up on food to carry us through the winter. I just cooked off the last two spaghetti squash from Janice’s garden and they could have probably kept a while longer. I am currently loving frozen green beans (from superstore, not my own unfortunately) and am going to try to grow enough in my garden this year to freeze several bags (or like…. 10). I just ran out of the Morden Peaches and Cream corn that I bought at a roadside stand this past summer (boiled, cut off the cob, frozen on a parchment lined tray then bagged and tagged). Just last week I used the last of Belva’s garden potatoes. Not bad. Of course I still do buy the vast majority of my groceries from superstore and much of that is off-season imported fruits and vegetables. I have to believe that I can do better. I didn’t can anything except several cases of peaches this year (and those didn’t last more than a month …. oh! They were so good!). I intend to invest in a quarter of a Manitoba Grassfeed cow this year to supply us with most of our meat (http://www.manitobagrassfedbeef.ca/).
So my 2010 New Years resolutions all involve food. Surprised? I’m not.
Eat more real food
I am already doing better at avoiding the urge to order pizza, open a can of soup, or use pre-made tomato sauce. Oh, or buy white bread. Mmmm….. white bread….. Yes even I do these things way too often.
Eat locally as much as possible
This includes: joining a CSA or farm share program (still looking into that one, if anyone has a good lead let me know). This also includes: Buying a quarter of a cow, chickens from the Huterites, pork from one of the myriad local hog farms, and bacon from Friggs Meat Market. If I am going to buy loaves of bread I shall try to buy them from a bakery (and not packaged crap from god-knows-where off the shelf from Safeway). I will eat more goldeye! I will make my own sausages!
Expand the vegetable garden and stock up
Much more in summer so as to survive through the (seemingly endless) Winnipeg winter. If anyone wants to donate a dehydrator or a canner to the cause please let me know otherwise I will make do with my oven and stove, yet again. That means dehydrate, can, freeze or stockpile. I don’t have a root cellar but I do have a crawlspace under my stairs that might do for apples and carrots and such. I will give it a go this fall. I will TRY HARDER!!!!
I think that if we all make an effort to at least eat locally for our regular growing season we will be amazed at what a different place our world is! So this summer find a farmers market and make a weekly trip there for your fruit and vegetable needs at the very least. Not only is it usually cheaper than the store it is also better for you, fresher, more eco-friendly, and TASTIER! Yay!
As far as learning to live and survive in the world goes: I have to just take the plunge and start making my own cleaning supplies and try to curb my dependancy on chemicals. That extends to every part of my life. Just even thinking about what I use for my morning routine is scary: toothpaste, makeup, shampoo…… very scary. What if some disaster came along and we had to make do with what we knew? I don’t feel very confidant that I would be alright, and I know more food preservation techniques than most of you reading this. Sure, maybe I’m going a little overboard, but it’s something to think about, to be cognisant of.
Ok, that’s enough about that for now. But do take a few minutes to think about it. And then of course go and watch FOOD, INC. (http://www.foodincmovie.com/)