Yesterday, I walked into the chiropractic office where I work and found a small mass of women and children waiting to flood the reception area. After I greeted all of them, I found out that they were all there to share food. Each one had brought a “piece” of a complete meal; every week, they took turns on sharing their recipes, their garden bounty, and their knowledge of whole, good foods. Every week, they would have a meal already prepared and ready to go. This week it was moussaka, rainbow (cabbage) salad, granola, and pesto. All of these things were fresh and handmade with organic or sustainably raised meats. The office smelled great for hours.
My chiropractor (and boss) belongs to a Traditional Foods group on Yahoo. These groups get together locally (sometimes online, sometimes in person) to share purchases, excess of harvests, and knowledge about where to get great REAL, local, organic, and healthy food. They talk about where to purchase things and why it’s good to purchase them. They cooperate in large purchases and save money by buying in bulk. These are things from coconut oil to sustainably raised chickens. I’m part of this group, too – albeit just a lurker right now.
Why does this seem so important? Well, for a couple of reasons. First off, this is in San Carlos, California. This is the height of urban and suburban populace ; yet, here are these small groups of people making it work. San Carlos / Belmont are fairly affluent areas but the need for community is just as strong here as it is anywhere else. While someone in the group may have the room to grow cabbage, another may not. Yet, that second person can share their knowledge of making sauerkraut and turn that cabbage into something they can both share. Not only does it save time and money but it builds something I find much more important: a sense of community.
That, to me, is one of the cruxes of making this work in any area of the country – building a network and community you can work with to support your change of lifestyle. We’ve lived for a couple of decades, now, building these walls around us. There is very little sense of community, especially in the SF Bay Area proper. Rural areas can even use a boost as we see our rural areas slowly dying off. Sharing food, sharing ideas, and sharing health makes us stronger not only as individuals but as concerned citizens. When people become a network or community, the voice (and purchasing power) has more influence on those stores and sellers around us.
The group that came into my chiropractor’s office was, including my boss, five. We don’t need an army to make change and create a support group for ourselves. Sometimes, it just takes a few mouse clicks, a few emails, and some dedicated friends to change something as complex as the way we eat. So, start a Yahoo! group. Talk with your local friends. Talk with your co-workers. Don’t be afraid to talk food and to try something outside your comfort zone with regards to food. It’s something we all share in common.
Next time, I’m going to tackle protein. Maybe with a grill!