putting the garden to rest

20 10 2009

It’s the time of year to put our garden beds to rest. And, for me, it’s also time to give HPD a rest – or perhaps that would be better stated as: it’s time to give me a rest from HPD. I’ve really enjoyed this blog – documenting my journey, making new friends, and pushing myself to explore the connection between good food and good politics. While I will continue this exploration on my own, it’s time for me to focus my energy on family, school, and (soon-to-return) work. Who knows, I might come back to the site. But, rest assured, you can always find me eating local food or working in my garden.

Cheers!

gillian

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chicken madness

14 08 2009

I’m always wondering about how to do more at home. I want to make my own yogurt, try making cheese, and maybe even get some chickens for the backyard! I know my beloved is going to roll his eyes over that last one which means I had better be sure I know what I’m doing before I start. So I plan to watch the new documentary Mad City Chickens and find out if you really do have to be MAD for such a thing.

It just so happens that tonight is the perfect night to watch it because it is playing outdoors in Dundonald Park in Ottawa, starting at 9pm. Admission is free but donations are appreciated. As if that weren’t enough, the Ottawa Locavore Club is hosting a potluck picnic before the screening, starting at 6:30pm. Bring your favourite dish of finger foods (made from at LEAST one local ingredient) or a jug of locally made beverage. And don’t forget your reusable mug!





October ELC ’08: What Was Local on My Plate?

11 11 2008

I’ll be posting a postmortem on how the Eat Local Challenge went, but for now here is a list of the local food items that I filled up on during October.

Butter
Bread
Cheese
Eggs
Honey
Kidney beans
Yogurt
Apples
Beets
Bok choy
Brussel sprouts
Broccoli
Carrots
Cauliflower
Cranberries
Fennel
Foraged mushrooms
Garlic
Green beans
Kale
Lettuce
Onions
Potatoes
Summer squash
Sweet potatoes
Swiss chard
Tomatoes
Watermelon
Apple Cider
Cranberry Juice
Milk
Herbal tea
Water (local and from the tap)





common wealth

20 05 2008

I have a secret when it comes to the news. Usually when I drive to work with the radio on – CBC 1 or 2 because I don’t have the patience for commercials – the news comes on and I turn it off. Yes, I am someone who likes to consider myself informed and aware, but I turn the news off. Most times I can’t take it. My heart pounds when I listen to climate change stories, it gets war-torn up with stories of countries plotting against each other, and it bleeds when I hear about cyclones and earthquakes and drought-stricken countries. And don’t ask me about the polar bears. I bawl on cue when they land up in the news.

I hate this about myself. But when the news comes on, and I hear stories like that, I grow weak and feel powerless and lose my will to move forward – even when moving forward includes positive changes that help battle these calamities. So I turn the news off instead.

These past few weeks though, I’ve been reading Common Wealth by Jeffrey Sachs, as part of the Be a Bookworm Challenge over at Green Bean Dreams. Now when the news comes on, the horrifying details don’t drag me down. Instead there is a bigger picture that comes through it all. Mr. Sachs explains with startling simplicity, how the things that weigh heavy on my heart are all connected. Before I just knew enough to say that we are all connected, now I see direct links. Mr. Sachs is helping me to understand how overpopulation, climate change, and extreme poverty, among other things, are just different sides of the same coin.

So, only halfway through the book and already it seems clear to me – our common fate as a planet. I took that line right from his book. It echoes within me as I listen to the news these days.





buried nose

6 05 2008

Just as I was finishing In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan, Green Bean Dreams issued the Be a Bookworm Challenge for the month of May. And since my family, friends and co-workers are soon going to be sick of me saying (in a screechy-high voice no less) “Well, MICHAEL POLLAN SAYS blah blah blah…” I thought it was the perfect opportunity to pick up another book.

And WHAT IS IT? you ask. Well, let’s just say that Jeffrey Sachs has caught my eye of late.

P.S. I will be doing my DARNEDEST to get this book done in May, but… remember when I said I was abandoning all coursework this summer? Well I caved. Textbooks and Jeffrey will be in direct competition this month. OH! and gardening!!! More on that later.





my crowning glory

28 04 2008

Hmm, well tonight I was the crazy lady – this time at my yoga class. Honestly, this really shouldn’t be new to me anymore. Half the time I abandon having real conversations with people because I just don’t have the energy to wear the Crazy Lady Crown ALL THE TIME. But sometimes, like tonight, I blurt out my passions and beliefs, thinking that SURELY they will be well-met… HOW could anyone think otherwise?!?

Tonight it was about reverse-osmosis water systems, and gosh-darn-it! -aren’t-they-awesome!!! Well… you already know how I feel about filling up my Brita, and I’m afraid most other capitalist water filtration systems are going to fall on the same side of that equation for me. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not fighting capitalism here. There are other people who do that battle better than me, and to be perfectly honest, I’m not really anti-capitalism. More like anti-BIG business and governments that support them.

So, back to reverse-osmosis. SURE reverse-osmosis may be absolutely awesome from a health perspective, as I tried to tell me fellow pretzels in tonight’s class, but if it is then we should be lobbying our town to provide us with that system! That comment met some downward dogs with raised eyebrows.

“OUR TOWN CAN’T BE TRUSTED TO DEFINE HEALTHY,” the sun-saluters told me.

“Then talk to the town and tell the town what it should be doing,” I said, “This is how the political system works.”

“No, it won’t work,” the Warrior Ones answered somewhat snootily, “They don’t listen.”

I sighed into my upward dog and wondered once again, how words had transformed me from someone with worthwhile ideas into a crazy lady who has pushed the bar too far. On my way home, I wished that I had thought to remind them that we need to push for changes that will benefit ALL, not just the ones who can afford things like reverse-osmosis systems. But perhaps I would have met even more resistance with that thought.

After all, I’m just a crazy lady who ties herself up into pretzels.





food glorious food

24 04 2008

In case you haven’t noticed, food is ON the agenda these days… the international agenda. You’d have to stick your head in the sand to miss out on the rising food prices and food riots around the world. People are starting to question agriculture and food policies – and that’s a good thing because those policies ain’t working so good these days.

I don’t have all the answers. No one does. And that’s why people need to get out there and TRY TO UNDERSTAND what’s happening. So, read, read, read, and read some more!! Try publications from the Earth Policy Institute, like this one. Or pay attention to pundits, like Michael Pollan, on subjects like this. Be THANKFUL for your food, and consider making alternative diet choices. And last – but most definitely not least – seek out farmers and food producers. Talk to them and listen carefully to what they’re saying.

Food is not aplenty.

P.S. For Ottawa-area folk, here’s one place to start paying attention: check out an upcoming talk organized by the National Farmers Union: Farm Leaders Speak Out on a Globalized Food System. Colleen Ross will discuss food sovereignty, and Ubali Guerrero and Miguel Colunga will talk about how international trade agreements affect global agriculture. It’s happening on May 1st, 7pm, at Union Hall – just outside of Almonte.