ON THE GARDEN PATH by Carolyn Herriot
Don’t eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.
– Michael Pollan
Mindful eating and consumption can change the world, a practice referred to as eco-gastronomy by the “Slow Movement.” When we aspire to rightful living, we need to be aware of our food miles and whether the food is fair trade for producers. When we aspire to healthful eating, it begins by stocking the kitchen with the best ingredients possible. Perhaps it’s time to put your kitchen on a diet and get rid of ingredients that are questionable in terms of being wholesome, nutritious and unadulterated?
Get rid of: the deep fryer, canned foods – especially those with BPA lining – processed, frozen meals and foods with high sodium, fat and sugar.
Stock up on: plenty of fresh seasonal vegetables – have ready-to-eat sticks of carrots, celery, cucumbers and peppers in the refrigerator as well as lots of washed greens – good quality, cold pressed and unfiltered oils for flavouring. Buy quality salt. Experiment with artisan salts.
Place a fruit basket on the table and keep it filled with fresh seasonal fruit. Renew culinary herbs and spices for seasoning. Put glass jars of healthy ingredients such as quinoa, rice and dried fruit at eye level. Keep your blender handy to make shakes and smoothies. Go crazy for leftovers – soups, casseroles, beans, grains and sprouts – perfect for a healthy snack or a meal anytime.
Certified organic food contains none of the following: toxic synthetic pesticides, herbicides or fumigants, chemical fertilizers or sewer sludge used as fertilizer, synthetic hormones or antibiotics, artificial preservatives, artificial colours or synthetic flavours and sweeteners, trans fats, irradiation, genetically engineered ingredients or use of cloned animals.
Production requires that organic farmers develop and follow detailed farm plans and be inspected every year to ensure they follow organic requirements. Those that don’t cannot display the organic logo on their product.
Buy in bulk
In the 1970s, I worked as a co-ordinator at a member-owned, storefront food cooperative in Vancouver called Marginal Market. Six hundred households owned the store and members decided which foods would be stocked. Each member volunteered to work in the store two hours per month. My job was to order the food and direct the “workers” on their shift. Keeping overhead costs to a minimum allowed all of us to eat healthy, organic food at just above wholesale cost. That’s when I learned the value of buying food in bulk; since then, I have never let a recycled storage jar pass me by. Buying clubs are making a comeback and perhaps storefront co-ops will too?
2012 is the UN Year of Cooperatives
Worldwide, co-ops represent 800 million members, have a combined turnover of $1.1 trillion, employ 100 million people and secure the livelihood of three billion people. In the UK, there are 5,450 independent co-op businesses, many of which are community food enterprises like co-operative bakeries and country markets. They have a combined turnover of over £33 billion and have outperformed the UK economy, growing by 21 percent since the start of the credit crunch in 2008. Cooperative businesses in the UK employ 236,000 people and are owned by 12.8 million people – over one in five of the UK population. (www.uk.coop/2012).
Carolyn Herriot is author of A Year on the Garden Path, a 52-Week Organic Gardening Guide and The Zero Mile Diet: A Year-round Guide to Growing Organic Food (Harbour Publishing). www.earthfuture.com/gardenpath/