I generally observe the Fridays in Lent by eating only what I’ve grown myself and refer to these days as Homegrown Fridays. I have to admit, doing that in late winter presents some challenges and I take time to think through what I am going to eat and how I am going to prepare it. Last year I did this in the midst of writing Grow a Sustainable Diet: Planning and Growing to Feed Ourselves and the Earth,which is published now. I wrote about Homegrown Fridays in that book and in previous years in this blog. This year I am deep into writing a new book—Seed Libraries and other means of keeping seeds in the hands of the people. Watch for it to come out in early 2015. Both books are published by New Society Publishers. Being so busy, I thought I’d ease up a little on my self-imposed rules and allow other ingredients in my Homegrown Friday meals to go along with my homegrown food. I did have some new additions from my 2013 harvest and you can read about that here.
I rarely hear of anyone else doing this, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover the book Blessing the Hands That Feed Us by Vicki Robin in January. Although she wasn’t growing all her own food, in that book Robin tells of her month long journey eating only food grown within a 10-mile radius of her home. She prepared for this and allowed a few of what she called exotics—oil, lemons and limes, salt, a few spices, and caffeine. Robin co-authored Your Money or Your Life years ago and is adept at thrift. That book is about how to live with less stuff and enjoy your life more. Looking at what something costs in dollars is much different than looking at what something costs in life energy. Your Money or Your Life was about accounting for your life energy in all of your pursuits. Focusing on a 10-mile diet was different. The focus was on the life energy of everything around her and how she would be using it. Everything about her food became important, from the people who grew it to the soil it was grown in.
Food is all around us, but once you embark on a journey like this, taking account of all that goes into it, you might be like me—not finding much I want in the grocery store. I don’t want to consume pesticides that are used on food brought from far away and I certainly don’t want the workers who grew the food to be exposed to such harmful practices. I’m concerned about how the soil is used to grow my food and the transportation cost to the environment.
Everything is interconnected and everything is important. Our actions and our attitudes do matter and can set off a wave of energy that, although small at first, will gain momentum as it joins with the energy of others. Vicki Robin refers to sustainability as an extreme sport and I would agree. It is an adventure that can take us to lives we can’t yet imagine, but will be just what we’ve always been looking for. So, plant a garden and get to know others who grow what you don’t. Eat a local sustainable diet and watch your footprint shrink and your world expand.
Learn more about Cindy Conner and what she’s up to at www.HomeplaceEarth.Wordpress.com.