From Bud to Blossom

i think the truth of the matter is that it’s getting tiring to be thinking about the minutia of how i consume food, and how to relay that out to people in a way that lyrically illustrates the transformation in how i’ve approached my diet since the past three weeks have unfolded.

i’ve never had a regular writing practice before, and part of this challenge was to push my limits.  having to regularly reflect about a powerful experience in the same real-time that it’s being experienced is something that i never have experienced before.  the practice of regular writing proved to be a noble companion to the mindfulness that can be practiced when performing the art of eating, with which i’ve been delightedly reinformed and re-habituated over these part weeks.  the intention in each act, whether edible in mouth or mind, set the framework for a complete shift in how i approach my relationship to consumption.

and now it’s become so second nature that i’m having trouble finding the next story to write about.  i shall now be the melissa who eats very simple foods based in whole-foods ingredients that are scratch made.  beans, lentils, polenta.  interspersed with dense leafy greens, root vegetables sometimes, brassicas.  some steamed, some raw.  home grown sprouts.  still a lot of raw.  just paying a lot more attention about planning ahead, and taking that time to really honor the food that i value so much.

more than anything, the 31.50 challenge brought me such clarity in my own habits, and what can be best for me.  With all of the knowledge that I’ve absorbed over these years, i find said clarity in quantities and critical discernment in choice.   for example, in how i integrate superfoods into my foodway (still regularly, but again with a really generative level of mindfulness about how i use them, and how i honor my abilities to have access).   and from there, how truly whole-systems this lens of holistic consumption seems to be.

this realization is ultimately at the center of the much bigger teaching, which is the value with which i can realize my privilege, the lived experience that i’ve been afforded, and what i can do with the knowledge.

it’s incredibly hard to imagine what perpetual hunger would feel like.  to even experience a small slice of that all-consuming thought process, where food is so not secure that it’s secured in your thoughts as the main focus.

truly, the short period of time that i was living in that way did a whole lot more than raise awareness around hunger.  as i’ve mentioned, it completely shattered my perspective around how i feed myself and what’s really the most important thing.

that said, it’s also been incredibly hard (regardless of the ease of switching my diet) to reconcile where my thoughts are at this point  around how i prioritize food and how i’ve always been very resolute around needing to allocate more of a budget toward it.  mostly because i’m now allocating so much less and feeling ironically very much more free.

i never imagined feeling so absolutely resolute about something while also feeling so incredibly confused about how to move forward with this version of my voice.

i suppose that therein lies the rest of this story, as i move away from what was a short-term and well-defined challenge, and continue on a truly remarkable journey that has called forth my requirement to continue always and absolutely questioning everything about what i believe, who that makes me, and how that is shared with those around me.  which is a challenge that i’m 100% up for.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
― Anaïs Nin

Two Weeks In, Part 2

just about $62.00 in free produce.

$8.60 left from my $31.50 budget.

in the past 8 days, i’ve only spent $22.90 on food.  and i’ve eaten like a queen.  polenta and black beans have been my base, and i’ve gotten really good at using polenta as a canvas that can be elevated to creamy, crispy, luscious perfection with beautiful ingredients added in and on its simple foundation.  the 1lb of black lentils (purchased on sale for $1.69/lb last tuesday) have yielded me more sprouts than i know what to do with.  i literally have 1/2 gallon of them right now, ready to eat, and know that they’ll last me through the rest of this week.   i haven’t taken more than i would have from our produce pantry, i’m just approaching it without expectations and with utmost flexibility.  the bounty is unrelenting and so incredibly giving.

what a far cry from where i sat at the end of week 1, counting pennies and hoarding all that i could.  where the purchase of 25cents of arugula and sprouts had me questioning my own logic around calories and cents.   what a staggering observation that i’ve had the chance to come face-to-face with:  for all the time that i’ve spent working as hard as i have in order to get where i’ve gotten, i’ve never taken the moment to really understand how even that has been made possible.  that i should even have the privilege to be able to prioritize my work.  or that i should have the privilege to choose this work, given how little money i made for the first many years at the co-op.  that said, i also will never know if, had i had the need to really budget for something like student loans (of which my father never allowed me to take on), if that would have set my course differently or if i would have figured out how to make it all work, and still be plugging away, trying to affect great change from the ground-level of the Little Co-op by the Sea.

as the past two weeks have unfolded, what i’ve taken away is so hard to try and put into words that the very act of writing this blog has become an immense source of processing.  the practice of putting words to feelings that are so very hard to explain, feelings that bore deeply into the soul, getting to the places of questioning, guilt, shame, awareness..  knowing that people are reading my words as i can barely form the sentences to anchor them.

at this point in my process, i’d say that the hardest part of this challenge is figuring out how to stop the challenge.

i know that i value the access i have to high-quality food.  i also know that i’ve always been a proponent of people in this country spending more money on food, prioritizing it higher in their daily life.  i’ve always felt like my personal connection to how i feed myself could never be reigned in with a budget, because why should it?  i work hard, and i run the freaking food co-op.  it’s my money and i can spend it how i choose, on what i choose, and when i want to, because my body is my temple and it wants $450/lb Brain Feed on demand and why wouldn’t i allow that for myself?

but i’ll be damned if every single ounce of my own self is pushing right back against that.  because i’ve just proven exactly what i set out to show in the past two weeks.  i’ve completely reshaped my entire approach to how i feed myself because i’ve completely reshaped my entire approach to how i nourish myself, and how i know that others can also do the same.  i’ve lost the need for superfoods.  i no longer require the things that were, two weeks ago, an ingrained and seemingly integral part of my diet.   i’m eating incredibly wholesome, healthful, no-frills, delicious, simple, nutritious meals that i prepare with kindness, love, and intention.  and every single food that crosses my path is met with a moment of gratitude, a blessing, a dedication to those that have less.  an overwhelming sense of knowing that less is more, and i’m content to be sitting with this less.  this more.

i sit in the food co-op looking at all we can share with our staff, just by virtue of how we choose to run our store.  staff get first picks of anything that’s no longer able to be sold.  i’m one person who only took a fraction of what was available.   i know that with further dialogue i can really foster a culture of awareness around the bounty that we have at our fingertips and how it can best be used to benefit those who most need it.   i also know that i have some important words to write to our staff so that i can re-frame the dialogue around our employee benefits and what they can mean.

today i splurged and bought some honey, the first that i’ve had in two weeks.  drizzled into my first cup of yerba mate since this challenge has began, slowly permeating the bitterness with sweet and allowing for both tastes to co-exist.  one learns from the other and the balance is struck.

so as this life as i tumble forward, trying to understand to where my food paradigm is now shifting…

xo

i have no idea what’s going to happen from here.

two weeks in, part 1

1 cup of sprouted black lentils, what will become about 5 cups of sprouted black lentils in two days, over 1lb of cauliflower, 1lb red lentils, half a lettuce head, a bunch of red russian kale, a lemon, a tomato, about 6 cups of cooked black beans, 1/4 cup dry brown rice 1/4 cup polenta, 2 bananas, 1/4lb sugar snap peas, dinner leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

$12.00 left in my $31.50 budget after a week of eating at the Co-op, taking advantage of only three of the benefits that we offer our staff:  my employee discount, our free produce pantry, and free samples of random things that pass through the store.  i’ve also had a few gifts of food and drink from friends and farmers (though minimal, in comparison with the fresh ingredients that our produce pantry has bestowed).

tomorrow i’ll be tallying up the total quantity of fiscal value that i was able to add into my budget over this past week.

tonight i sit here, satisfied after a beautiful dinner that included fuchsia-colored polenta (yes beets!) and velvety cauliflower puree.

with the knowing that yet again, in such a short period of time, i’ve managed to re-shape the very lens with which i view that thing that holds the utmost amount of value to me: how my food co-op provides for those that provide for it.

reaping a bounty.

on tuesday i replenished my $31.50 for the week.

it’s saturday and i still have about $13.00 left in my budget to take me through monday.  on hand: 1lb polenta, 1lb lentils, 1lb black beans, 1/4 cup of dry brown rice, about 2 cups (or more?) of cooked black beans, 1/2lb black lentils, about 5 cups of sprouted black lentils, 1.2 bunches of kale, a potato, some broccoli, a GIANT head of lettuce, a smaller head of lettuce, a tomato,  two avocados.  including the one that i purchased on tuesday, still uneaten.

and in a very extreme move for me, today i also took a beet from the produce pantry.  there were several in there, and i was feeling bold.  beets are the only vegetable that i don’t like, but i keep trying.  i love everything about them aside from how they taste, BUT I’M SO DETERMINED!

part of how this whole week has worked is essentially that i have zero expectations for what (if anything) i’ll find in the produce pantry.  if i see something that there’s more of (so other staff can also have some) i’ll grab it and integrate it into something that includes polenta and beans.

this has allowed me to exponentially benefit, because i’m eating without any pre-conceived desire for something specific, aside from wanting to be sure that i have something to eat.  i’ve more than doubled my budget by using this tactic, as well as come up with some really fun combinations of how to eat what’s essentially the same thing repeatedly.

i’ve always held so much honoring for the simple foods that have been the basis of nourishment for all cultures around the world, different in their specifics but the same in their intentions (whether rice or beans or polenta or whatever it may be).

i’m now more sure than ever that the largest key to healthful eating while on a very small budget is to really look to our roots, to these foods that have been present through the evolution of our cultures and withstood the enormous changes to how and what many of us consider within our general foodways.  simple ingredients, prepared with care, the meal begun with a single ingredient or two that can be the base for a wide array of components.  i’m grateful that i’ve been afforded access to produce that can transform a humble beginning into something beautiful that still honors the roots of where the dish began.

i’ve been sitting here writing this at one of my favorite coffee shops in goleta, literally right next two two people discussing food, in the context of how to be healthier, but also honor convenience.   i managed to keep my big mouth out of their conversation until about five minutes ago, when the excited lady started to try and convince the man with her that he should give up his rice cooker in favor of the frozen boxes of whole grain rice now readily available at the store.  she exclaimed that with the outrageous cost of whole grain rice, he should instead buy a box of rice for $3.99 for 6 servings.  so convenient for the price!  okay melissa. keep your head down.  just.  keep.  writing.  um.  not so much.

as the three of us talked for a few minutes, i mentioned how in these past two weeks my paradigm around food has shifted dramatically.  i spoke about some of the things that i’ve written over these past days, including the awareness that i very much now have about value, whether it be the value of a dollar or the value of an hour of time.

i’m not sure if what i mentioned had any bearing on either of their thoughts (although the super well-intentioned and lovely woman did mention that she would actually consider buying a rice cooker), but hearing my own words really reinforced that i’ve suddenly been armed with a very powerful new set of tools for my toolbox.  the learnings of these past days and weeks have obviously significantly impacted my worldview  and given me more takeaways than i ever would have imagined.   but equally as important, given how often i’m looked to as a person that can be a resource, this experiment has greatly elevated my ability to help a much wider audience than before from a place of real experience with tangible and measurable information.

a bounty being reaped, indeed.

the value of $1.55

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1/2 cup of polenta (about $1.00), cooked and cooled before my workshop, and roasted in the oven to crisp up once i got home.  the produce pantry gave me two tomatoes, a leek, and some broccoli, all of which i lightly steamed.  3 leaves of kale (40 cents) were chopped and massaged with a drizzle of vinegar and a touch of sesame oil.  the tomatoes were layered on top of the polenta, baked for a bit, and then layered with the other steamed veggies and kale to crisp up in the oven.  a halfway edible avocado was salvaged and was the perfect thing to tie the layers together, creamy and delicious.  a sprinkle of black beans (10 cents).  today my black lentil sprouts were tiny lil’ barely-sprouts when i left for work, and giant beautiful sprouts when i came home, and were the perfect topping.  (5 cents)

this is literally three meals worth of food.  dinner tonight, with a portion for lunch tomorrow that i’ll wrap in my found lettuces for a yummy wrap, along with some of the avocado that i bought on tuesday that’s sat uneaten.  plus dinner tomorrow night, with more sprouts added on, as they’ll be even bigger.  total cost: $1.55

interspersed throughout today were gifted samples of new items to try out for the store, as well as superfood treats at the workshop i attended.

i’m finding an incredible amount of joy in seeing how i can utilize produce that’s almost at the end of it’s life in creative ways, with a rotating base of simple, inexpensive, high-quality and nourishing staples.

i’m eating smaller portions than i would have before this challenge began.  yet i’m feeling incredibly satisfied with less food, i think because i’m becoming more sated by the entirety of the process.  from thinking about how to use the ingredients that i’ve come upon, thinking ahead enough to have polenta or beans in a state of ready enough to work with, lots of intention in how i’m preparing things.  the act of having one portion and boxing up the rest for lunch tomorrow and beyond.  truly, the connection i’m forming with how i’m feeding myself is changing entirely.

i’ve lived in a very fast slow-food world for many years, without planning.  without really honoring the mindfulness of eating, of which i know and value and speak of often.  while the ingredients and intention has always been of the utmost priority to my mind and body it so seems that my spirit has been getting short-changed.  through the being and doing of all the great things that i’ve been and done,  i’ve forgotten about inserting myself back into living my own knowledge.  similar to last week’s challenge to really try and understand food without it being plenty, my eyes are opening up to a completely different lens with which to view how i nourish myself.  nourishment is suddenly becoming an honoring in a much different way than i’ve experienced in a very long time, if ever.

the rapid boil of a pot of polenta, screaming for a whisk to help it breathe.  as i help it breathe, so i breathe with it.

i never would have thought that $1.55 could have such a profound impact on my life.

random acts of kindness

random acts of kindness

 

in full exhaustion mode, i mentally prepared myself for the decision to stop at a local coffee shop for an unbudgeted fuel-up.  i’ve been off coffee (still only ever a treat) and yerba mate (my go-to-daily warming and waking beverage) since the challenge began 11 days ago.  with the new challenge rules it’s actually fair game (free organic fair-trade coffee, yerba mate, and tea while on shift yesplease) but i wanted to keep the personal test going.

tonight got the best of me on the way to a workshop, and i was in full reconciliation mode around spending extra money on this luxury item.

the door was open, and i went inside.  the owner was in full chai making mode, and let me know that he was closed but happy to make whatever he could with the limited resources he had still available.  drip coffee was on my mind, as it’s powerful in action and less expensive than other things, so i went that route.  easier for him too 🙂

as i went to pay, he let me know that the coffee was a gift, as it was the end of the night.

not totally a huge deal, but i let him know what i was doing, and how much it meant to me.  we then got into a conversation around food insecurity, and he told me of many conversations he’s had with friends over the years who receive food assistance.  they would tell him that the thread that made it work was the support systems of neighbors who would drop by with unexpected gifts of food:  a pot of soup, a casserole, just something that they didn’t know was coming, and carried them through tough times.

those random acts of kindness were sustenance for not only their weakened and hungry bodies, but their minds and spirits.

know your neighbors, cultivate a culture of caring.  small gestures can have big impacts, and can be what reminds someone that they are loved, and loved enough to carry them through tough times.  i went in for a cup of coffee, and left with food for thought.

that’s all.

plus thank you.

 

 

 

a new lens, a new perspective.

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having access to an apple has never really meant so much.

yesterday i began a different version of this challenge.  rather than place the emphasis on how much i can stretch $31.50 as a way to maybe slightly begin to kind of understand how it feels to have access to barely enough food to get by in a week, i’ve decided to try something new.

for the past 10+ years i’ve worked at this food co-op, and in the past 7 years worked on behalf of our Co-op within the wider community to help grow visibility of this precious little store as a true resource for not only food, but for all that comes with having a food co-op in a community.  economic democracy, autonomy in decision making, education initiatives.. mission-driven work that has inspired and grown with me as i have with it.

along the way, i’ve been fortunate enough to reap non-fiscal benefits that have truly helped me in times of need (in particular when i was working here full-time and trying to scrape by on a wage pretty far from where santa barbara places a “living wage” (currently somewhere around $15.00/hour).

as our business has grown and our operations have improved, i’m proud to say that almost our entire management team is at (or close to) the SB living wage (still barely enough to live in this very expensive town, but a great improvement in a short period of time).  we do, though, have a lot of non-managerial staff who are mostly students (and some not) who are trying to live well in this town on not that much pay.  it’s getting better each year as more and more of our community supports the co-op and our staff by shopping here and we’re able to increase our payroll budgets.   but some of our staff truly live with very little, and are highly committed to the co-op because they believe in the work that we do and want to be part of this movement.

with the knowledge and personal experience that i’ve had in trying to work at the co-op, but for not very much money, i take very seriously the importance of our non-fiscal benefits.  i know that they are critical for some staff who really rely on what we can feed them so that they can be fed.  the thought that a co-op employee could ever feel food insecure is something i just won’t allow to happen.

so i know the qualitative value of what we’re able to offer our staff (to the best extent possible).  that said, i haven’t shopped here with limited resources in a very long time.  as i prioritize food so highly in my monthly expenses, i just spend money on it.  this challenge, as i’ve mentioned, has really re-framed how i value $1.  so i wanted to take the opportunity to look at this new qualitative value that i have for $31.50 and try to see how far i could stretch it quantitatively, just to know if and how and how well the Co-op could support a staff person that’s living on a SNAP budget.

my challenge rules:

1. most importantly, i’m not taking much more than i would have before.  i 100% honor the NEED that some of my employees have for this food, and they come first, WAY before a challenge.  i don’t ever take perishable products from our pantry, and i certainly don’t intend to start now.  i actually used to never take free items at all (for that reason), until our produce manager let me know that our compost was still seeing enough un-sellable but still edible items, and that it would be useful for me to partake.   so my only supplement to the $31.50 as far as free items from the store go is free produce.  (we also have a free bread and grocery pantry, along with the aforementioned perishables pantry).

2. my employee discount is back on, so i’m receiving 20% off all purchases.

3. now i get to eat the snacks and samples that pass through here in order to also help supplement my need for big meals.

4. i also get to accept gifts from farmers and producers.  like these sunflower sprouts that Rick from SB Sprouts brought me today:

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the goal of this part of the experiment is to do a first-hand analysis of our benefits, and to see if they are really as valuable as i think they are (in particular for our staff who live on extremely tight food budgets).   i also want to be able to offer our employees a guide of sorts, to help them stretch their dollars as far as possible while working here.

i’ve already had one great epiphany today, and plan to help facilitate a new program that will bring employees together to coordinate their own volume purchases.  we offer a benefit that allows staff to order cases of things at wholesale price, but that’s totally out of my budget right now, as it is for many of our staff with limited resources.  what if we help facilitate a way for staff to coordinate cooperative wholesale ordering?  everyone can chip in together on one case of something, and they can share in the wholesale pricing.  we’ll be implementing that if there’s enough interest from staff and they can find a coordinator for me to work with.  it seems so obvious, but i’ve never thought about it from this perspective before.

so far, since yesterday’s re-up of my $31.50 budget i’ve spent $7.85.  this includes the purchase of 2 breakfasts (oats and bananas), sunflower seeds, 1 bunch of kale, two small sweet potatoes, an avocado, 1lb of black beans and 1lb of black lentils that i’m sprouting.  for dinner last night i used up the rest of my polenta from last week (about 25 cents worth), 3 leaves of kale (about 40 cents), and everything else was free.  i had enough left over for lunch today, as was able to add in those sunflower sprouts as well as lettuce that i acquired.  so that’s two delicious meals for 75cents.

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i have 23.65 left in my budget for the week.

now, where’s that other bruised apple?  because one week later, knowing that our Co-op can provide that to me right when i need it the most..  well the value of that truly is priceless.

the last dinner.

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it was actually more like dinner plus lunch. plus i was so hungry after one of the more exhausting days that i’ve had in a long time that i ate a giant salad and a tiny yam before i actually made this dinner.

dinner (including the not pictured pre-dinner) 2 small yams, a huge salad with two kinds of lettuces, some kale and the rest of my alfalfa sprouts, a tiny other salad with the same ingredients, crispy kale, and about 1/2 cup of both brown rice and black beans. total cost was about $2.00 or thereabouts. which also includes the (not pictured) leftovers that were enough to make a good sized salad with sprouts and about 8oz of black beans and brown rice to bring to work for lunch tomorrow.

tomorrow i plan to recreate my $31.50 budget. this time around, i’ll be turning my co-op employee discount back on, as well as allowing for the years of work that i’ve put into my food community to act as my safety net: i’ll begin a new part of this experiment where i see how far that $31.50 will stretch given the net worth of my networks. i will honor the farmers who gifts of produce are meant to honor me, i will accept the gifts of food that i turned down this past week, and i will participate in the co-op’s excellent employee produce pantry. i’ll be quantifying everything that i receive in order to have an actual dollar value to monetarily align with the non-fiscal value of mind, body, and spirit enhancement that these benefits afford to me.  suffice to say that similarly to the value shift i’ve had for the remarkable gift that is $31.50 in the first place, once i have a dollar amount to tie into all that i’m blessed with beyond that, the real worth of what i’ve worked for all of these years will be both priced and priceless.

it took 8 days for me to experience something that i can only describe as a total and complete paradigm shift about how i value the money that i spend on food and how it can nourish me. i also now feel more strongly than ever that my food co-op and local farmer’s market can be a tremendous resource for someone on a limited income to have access to high-quality foods, should they want to prioritize organic, local, and whole-foods ingredients.

i managed to maintain my ethics and standards for where i shop and who i give my money to, while also honoring my vegan and gluten-free diet, all for $31.33. i have 17 cents left in my budget. on hand is 1/2 cup dry short grain brown rice and about 1/2 cup of polenta.

this has not been an easy week by far. the portions (especially during the day) have been smaller than i’m used to. trying to exist in my chaotic career and projects and life has been hard, because i’ve found it very hard to focus. i’ve spent more time hungry and thinking about food than i thought possible, occasionally catching myself watching the clock at work to see if enough hours had passed so i could eat my next tiny serving.

i actually take full responsibility for this as well:  it had much less to do with the budget and way more to do with my admitted inability to plan ahead.  i’m terrible at that, and this past week i felt the burden.  last night after i ate dinner, the old version of melissa would have looked at the small amount of leftovers and likely just eaten that as well.  this version, though, looked at what was left, realized how sated and satisfied my meal had left me feeling, and realized that it was the perfect amount of food for lunch today.  a small shift in my general awareness around making my beautiful, high quality food stretch further that seems obvious, but really was not in my culture of consumption.

last night i sat in workshop 1 of a training hosted by the Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity on campus at UCSB.  there has been a lot happening both in the co-op and in the town isla vista (including the horrible events that took place this past weekend) that, to me, speak to even a greater need of intentionalizing the dialogue of what it means to be a pro-active participant in the co-creative nature of personal safety, awareness of others, and being an ally for each other as we co-exist together in our community.

rather than just identify our Co-op as a Safe Zone by slapping a sticker on the window and thinking that would be enough, i felt it critical to go through some training so that i could best understand how our store can truly be an inclusive space and place that our entire community can feel comfortable within (whether it be through gender diversity or any other kind of diversity that can polarize us), and so that i can personally better understand what it means to be an active part of this conversation.

it was a powerful workshop, and my biggest takeaway actually pointed directly back to the reason that i started the SNAP challenge in the first place.

i want to be an ally.

last night, i was given the opportunity to really begin to understand what that means.

and i’m finally realizing how much more i need to do in order to really become one.

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this image was shown in the beginning of the conversation around what it means to be an ally and it really put into words exactly what this past week has brought up for me.   it actually puts to words so much of what i’ve felt over these years trying to understand where my place is in this world, and in the fight for food justice in particular.  i still don’t have the answer, but at least i have somewhere to start looking.

in humble appreciation for the privileges that i’ve been afforded.

and in gratitude for all that i’m able to be.

dumpster diving

dumpster diving

this haul was nabbed last night from the dumpster at a grocery store near my house. some of the items in the box weren’t past date, they were just slightly damaged. the haul included: eggs, bread, fresh vegetables, frozen fruits and vegetables (some even organically grown), fair trade chocolate, fair trade coffee, and more. lots of stores (probably including this one) have a good practice of donating to foodbanks, but there’s still so much perfectly good food that ends up in the dumpster.

i’m not a dumpster diver, and i appreciate the friends that i know who dive right in. but the real reason i bring this up is because the sheer amount of food that’s wasted in this country is, to me, one of the more egregious things that happens every single day all around us with many people truly not realizing. that bar of fair trade chocolate? it was in the dumpster because the box that the wrapped chocolate bar was housed in wasn’t properly closing. i find it so ironic that a food item with a fair-trade symbol, a certification that ensures at least a more fair wage for the farmer who produced the cacao in the bar so their livelihood can be even a bit better, should end up in the garbage because of bent cardboard.

and then there’s things like this that are also happening. (obviously a much different slice of a system that needs fixing).

45cents of fair trade organic

45cents of fair trade organic

last week at work i was having a lot of trouble staying focused and finishing a project or task all the way through. i hadn’t figured out a good balance of healthy fats mixed with starch and protein that could compensate for eating so much less.

this morning i had been totally full-steam ahead even with slight feelings of hunger that creep up. i must be getting used to eating so much less.. but in general being at work is much more difficult with these feelings of hunger. staying focused is truly a challenge, and adding in the many interruptions that my day encompasses while trying to stick to a task is really hard.

it’s hard to believe that 1 in 6 people (and 1 in 5 children) don’t know where their next meal is coming from.. or that so many children have to sit in a classroom and try and stay focused while their stomach rumbles. the film A Place at the Table shares the story of one such young girl. it’s heartbreaking to know that her potential is being limited because she’s hungry. Feeding America has a good statistics page about Child Hunger in America

this oatmeal was a good start to the day, and i was able to get through a lot of tasks. now, though, at 11:19am i’m definitely hungry. not much to do but wait until i can eat my lunch, which needs to give me energy for four pretty in-depth meetings that i’m about to roll into, intermixed with several really heady projects that i need to be working on.  the food co-op doesn’t slow down, even i feel like i need to be working more slowly.

the challenge brings the truth to the table, and a pretty empty table it is.