We have been discussing this Real Food Challenge here at the Roost. The main thing I keep hearing from my gang is “Why?” “We already do most of this.” “We already know this stuff.” etc.
My first reaction was “I’m the DAD and I say we are doing this, so just deal with it!” Not very effective, I know. Next I tried the “save the world, be a good example” guilt approach. Didn’t work either. They are willing to do lots of good work to make the world a better place, but giving up Cheetos doesn’t seem to fit. So then I had to really ask myself “Why?” What’s the point of making this the focus for a month. Do I really think it will change the world? Or even change our lives? Probably not. At least not in any grand way. So, why bother?
I’m reading a book right now by Jack Kornfield. It’s called After the Ecstasy, the Laundry. That pretty much sums up why I’m doing this challenge and why I’m dragging my family, somewhat unwillingly, into it too. The Laundry, the mundane daily grind of life that makes a mockery of Ecstasy, Ideals, Philosophy. It is a hard thing to sustain change in your life when you are surrounded by forces prodding you to move/live in another way. After a week of scrambling around trying to find Real Food in a market where it doesn’t exist, and making meals that your family eats grudgingly, the shine goes off the project and you start to slide (maybe you don’t, but some of us do…) So, we are participating mostly to get and give support. To share the frustration, the successes, the challenge with others. I hope to learn some new things along the way, and share some of the things we have figured out for ourselves. That will make it really fun. But mostly, it’s laundry, and knowing others are doing laundry too will help.
I don’t have a shopping list like Kim’s.
We will struggle with fresh produce. We will be pushing our spring production schedule forward as fast as we can, but it won’t be enough. Getting to focus on food will help spur some of these projects along.
We will learn to use more whole grains, and try making our own flour.
We will be giving up all the crackers and chips unless we make them ourselves. We have experimented with this a couple of times and haven’t had much success. Most of the things we have made in this category have been very time consuming and somewhat unsatisfactory. Looking forward to hearing how others deal with this.
We have made pasta before. We like it and will be making as much of our own as possible. It takes a lot of eggs, so we will have to see how productive our chickens are this next month. I’m not sure we will improve our lot or impact the system if we buy eggs to make our pasta. I’d rather close down the big egg producers. I do know some local people who sell eggs, so I should be able to get them if needed.
We will be making lots of cheese. Right now we have both cows milk and goats milk in good quantities so we should be able to do some new things. We make some of our own cheese, and all of our yogurt and other dairy products. There are some hard cheeses that we haven’t had much luck with, but we use them in very small quantities, and will probably do without. We have a couple of small cheese houses in the area. They are large enough to be commercial but small enough to still be local independent producers. We’ll use them for any cheese we can’t make our selves.
Tea, coffee, wine, beer, are all on the list of things to grapple with. I don’t know what answers we will find.
We are also going to try to create a local network of Real Food people. I think that is key if we want to change the system. Sharing, supporting, creating alternatives at a local level are things that will keep this going beyond a month of Ecstasy.