Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Harvest of Plenty

On the 9th of October I once again found myself in the presence of inspiring food revolutionaries who are doing the bold thing of growing and eating good, healthy food that nurtures those that eat it as well as the ecosystems that it is produced in.  When I made my intent clear to move home to rural Alberta I was constantly met with doubtful looks and probing questions about how I would fit in.  The rural folk are not known to be as widely travelled or as liberal in thought as I guess most of people perceive me.  I kept assuring people that I was positive I would find some others 'like me' - it might just take some time and some openness on my part.  Well - it didn't take long (see the post from my first week home. ) and they aren't as rare as some would think.  

Last Saturday, the weekend of Thanksgiving which was perfect timing to celebrate and discuss ways of making access to good, healthy food a possibility for all, roughly 20 of us met on a farm near Castor to participate in one of the many Kitchen Table Talks that are being held across Canada, as part of the People's Food Policy.  I had been in touch with Kathleen - the host of the event - and was surprised and delighted when she asked me to facilitate with Eva.  I enjoyed being a part of the process and especially in being a part of the harvest of key experiences and ideas that are relevant to Canada's food policy.

As we introduced ourselves, stories began to unfold.  Men, whom on first glance one might paint as the typical redneck farmer, broke down as they talked about the concern they have for the children of the world and the responsibility they feel for providing families with nutritious food.  The women shared the pride they felt when they could look at the table of food in front of them and say "all of this was grown on my farm."  

It was a day of shared laughter and frustrations.  These were producers and consumers who are taking possible legal risks because they believe in the private right for a consumer to purchase food from a producer they trust without the heavy regulations (that ARE necessary in an industrialised food system) getting in the way.  And we were all people who loved to eat healthy food that tastes great, which is exactly how we ended the day.

They are my heroes, my inspiration, and my kind of people.  I can only hope to be a part of the next generation of these rural, food revolutionaries.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Signed, sealed and being delivered

It's taken me some time to put together this post.  After sending my thesis off to the printer - I needed a break from typing out words in any form of narrative other than short emails.  So here I am - a few days later - reflecting on how these days feel and acknowledging this milestone.  

On the 30th of September I mailed my thesis to the UK finishing my part in the journey that has been my MSc.  It was done with a sense of completion, satisfaction and readiness to move forward from here.  The text I have written feels inadequate because it does not contain or capture the richness of the experiences I have this summer, the inspiration I have been given by the people I have met, nor all of the ideas that are bubbling inside.  In that way - I expect it has been a success.  For me - my MSc and this thesis was a key step in my coming home and rooting into the topics and the places that I am passionate about.  I have taken that step and am ready for the steps that follow.  And in the last few days, it has been nice to know that I can go berry picking (rose hips, hawthorn and mountain ash) without the guilt of feeling that I should behind a book or computer screen.  

Title page of thesis:  Home Coming: An exercise in belonging by exploring ecological resilience and the farming communities of east-central Alberta

Word cloud from the complete text of my thesis

If you would like to take a look at the complete edition - you can download it here: