Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Get Growing!

"I'll help you pick the green beans, and even shell the peas,
but please don't put them on my plate, I just want mac and cheese!"

I love this time of year! The air smells so earthy, plants are peeking up from the ground, and I start planning my “best kitchen garden ever.” Each year it gets a little bigger and I learn what works/doesn’t work in my soil. The kids absolutely love to plant and harvest, and we have great farmer friends to lean on for advice and support. Lewis stills talks about his afternoon of “putting carrots into sand” in the fall at Porcupine Creek Farm. Last year I planted asparagus for the first time and several rows of garlic; I can’t wait to see how they do!

A few years ago, I read The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and there was no turning back. I can no longer buy meat from the grocery store, and I am absolutely torn and perplexed every time I go shopping for food in our small town, particularly in the winter. We are committed to buying local food whenever possible, but I’m afraid convenience still sways me towards other food choices. I try to limit my grocery tour to the outer perimeter of the store, but somehow or another, a box of chicken fingers, or granola bars, will sneak its way into my cart.

Part of my dilemma is that our eldest child, Ivan, is an extremely picky eater who will only eat a total of five different fruits and vegetables. He has been raised on macaroni and cheese and is very reluctant to try new foods. I hope that he will absorb some healthy eating habits by osmosis—being part of the growing process, visiting farms and markets, and watching the rest of his family eating and enjoying our greens. Our younger son, Lewis, is quite the opposite and will pretend to be a dinosaur eating a dozen broccoli "trees" or gobble down a pint of berries in twenty minutes.

Real life inspires music, and we invite you to check out a live version of our new song, Good Things Grow. We hope it inspires you to think about the small things you can do in your life to make a difference. We’re nowhere near where we’d like to be in terms of becoming locavores, but we're trying, and each year we change a few habits that improve our family's health and support our local food economy.

We would love to hear about your food journeys and what you're doing to Get Growing!—whether it's planting a garden, visiting farmers’ markets, making jam, tapping your own trees... Please leave your comments or send your stories and photos to
andrewqueenistootall@gmail.com . We might use your photo in a video or on a website to share ideas and experiences about food.

A couple of great links to share:

FoodShare Toronto—they have ongoing events and great curriculum in their Field to Table program that is free to use.

100-Mile Diet—check out their Why Eat Local? and find out what your 100 miles looks like with their 100-Mile Mapping Tool.

Small Pond Arts—A community-based arts centre/farm near Picton--they are planning a really cool event, "an artistic exploration of our twisted relationship with food" or "Cornography," on July 24th.

Happy Spring and grow gently,


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