Friday, December 07, 2007
This really should just be a garden blog...
Not edible, but pretty
...but I seem to have other food-related interests, though, especially during the non-food-growing winter months. Could it be I simply have more time on my hands?
Anyway, I thought I would share some "food activist" things I have been doing.
My daughter goes to a private school. There is no lunch program, so lunches are up to a child's caregivers, but snack (yes, snack) is up to the school. Last year and the year before that, I worked with a friend of mine to do an organic box scheme wherein we got lots of California veggies and fruits and sold them, in boxes, to some interested families in the school two times a month. This was fun, but...let's face it, it wasn't local, so I felt pretty guilty about those boxes. Our reason for doing was twofold: any profit we made went right back into the snack program, AND our buying power enabled us to buy the kids lots of wonderful fresh fruit and veggies for their midmorning snack.
So this year, well, we kind of dropped the ball by dropping the box (scheme). And now? Now the kids get things like knockoff Chex mix for snack. Chex mix, and #10 cans of pears. (Egads, how far we have fallen.)
This made us a little angry. We're now back at it, this time by starting a Slow Food Convivium that is centered in the school itself. It seems there is a convivium already in our area, and that it was actually the first one in the U.S., but their mission (dinners and wine) and ours (child/parent nutritional education) is different. So, starting in January, we'll be doing Slow Snack two days a week.
Another thing I have recently done is start a buyers' club. A local buyers' club! One of the places we get things from is a new co-op in Grand Rapids. It is a virtual farmers' market: there is NO bricks-and-mortar store. Monthly, members simply order their items online and then pick them up about a week later at a warehouse. This co-op is fascinating, as it is ONLY LOCAL ITEMS from local farmers; grass-fed meats, organic veggies and fruits, home products, knitted goods, soaps... And, get this: they thought I lived too far away!!! So I said the magic word ("buyers' club") and bingo, I am now a member. I place orders with 4-5 of my friends.
Other places we're getting our goodies from are an organic farm near Lansing that mills their own grains, grows their own beans, etc. (They have been my primary source for flour for a while now.) We can still use our California organics source for things like kiwi, avocados, and citrus fruits. And we also "know a guy" (always helpful) who roasts coffee as a hobby, and is able to get fair-trade organic coffee at the fairly traded price, thus charging us only $6 a pound.
Again, my point in telling you all this is to give you some ideas. Child nutrition is a no-brainer in my mind. That my child doesn't know what a marshmallow or a hotdog are is something I'm proud of, frankly. And as for the buyers' club, it helps to pool resources, I think, as there's lots more purchasing power in big orders. (By getting flour delivered to my house in hundreds of pounds, for example, I am able to save big bucks than if I only bought 25 pounds of the stuff.) And as you all know, I think food is very, very important: especially good food. So I put my money where my mouth is.