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A Sustainable Community

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Sustainable Community I was born in the country, raised in the city, then had my family in the country. I cannot express how much I love the country, how it has the energy of peace and tranquility, how it nutures and fulfills needs of life. Nature, food, friends, family, work. A job that I held as a youth, was working in the local IGA in Orleans. There, my mom was a supervisor, and I believe that the owners were grooming me at the age of 15, as I was denied every teens request to be a cashier. Instead I started as a "pack-boy", where my boss strictly looked over my shoulder, "not too heavy, bananas and bread on top, double bag the cans." I was later moved to bottles, where I out worked the boys, stacking pallets with bottle returns, issuing credit memos, and even loading the stacks and pushing them to the back (which the boys hated to see me do successfully!). I mastered the plant department, the bakery, the fish department (where I put lobsters to sleep for the customers then effectively cooked them), snack bar and then I quit. Ha, the store supervisors did many things to try to get me to stay, however, I left to be a lifeguard/swim instructor instead. With this experience in a grocery store, I saw how people ate through their shopping. Everyone sought nourishment from the store. It was the source of all needs. Well, life in the country is so the contrary. Alough I love my local grocery for basic toiletries, and other things, I appreciate more the local produce that my community provides. My children were fed around the seasons by local farmers. We picked local berries every June,and blueberries and raspberries every August just down our street. We so looked forward to finding the open sign hung up, and then the neighbour and I, our 5 kids between us, would rush over daily in case the season was short! To this day the kids talk about the days where they ate more berries than they picked. September brought the bike out, I would treck 5-6 km south with my youngest daughter and neice in the carrier to pick apples at the orchard. I was even haggled for a few seasons by the owner to work as a witch for his spooky wagon ride! A parent from school sold me her fresh farm eggs and chickens which so happily lived in her back barn. I would venture into the village to several farmers stands, where I would gleefully purchase daily picked fresh corn, peppers, tomatos, beets, lettuce, zuccini, carrots and potatoes, filling 5 bags for $25 or less. Fall harvest brought cooking, canning, freezing. Stocking up with soups, breads, muffins, jams, salsas, stews for the winter. All fresh, all local. Tummies happy. Our freezers and cupboards were full until at least early spring! Well, now the kids are grown and gone. My yearly happy time is attending the Living Locally in one of our bedroom towns, where there are all kinds of us who create, bake, cook, raise, grow and sell our hard work and passion. There is grass fed beef that live at the four corners, where we watch the young feed with their mom each spring, organicly raised veggies and fruit, apple orchards, berries, bakers, organic chicken, pork, lamb, goat. We have cheese makers, flour grinders, cranberry farmers, and soapmakers, crafts people. 100 of us gather yearly, to promote our buisnesses,to educate our community about our healthy, locally grown food and products. How many city folk can atest to where the food on their plate came from? We can, and we do. My family has loved it and grown up on it. My collegue came with me to this great event, and lovingly laughed at me. "So, do you all wonder around, and make money to spend on each others stuff?" Of course, yes we do, and others follow! She joined in! So, when you see those brilliant yellow signs on the road reading "Farmers Feed Cities", it is so very true. Our towns, villages and cities should rely more on our locally produced foods, it is fresh, you know the source, how it was grown or raised, you see it alive and flourishing, then deliciously onto your plate and into your belly. You KNOW what you are eating, and that it was grown with love and care, and sold honestly to you first hand. That is life. That is a sustainable community. For this, I am so very grateful.

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