Food not only changed my life at one distinct point in the past, circa 2006 when I traveled to El Salvador and learned how deeply what we eat (consume) here in the states reverberates across the continent–world, even–to impact others in a myriad of ways…Food continues to change my life. It changed my life the following fall of that year when I decided to become a vegetarian after learning of the detrimental ways raising meat for consumption was affecting not only the health of the Earth, but of we humans.
It changed my life upon my college graduation, when I received Jane Goodall’s Harvest for Hope (aptly subtitled “A Guide to Mindful Eating”) as a gift from a person who hardly new a thing of my blossoming interest in sustainable food systems.
It changed my life when I read, reread, underlined, and wore this book down to pieces only to pass it on to anyone and everyone whose interest was peaked by my shared learnings.
It changed my life in 2009, when I chose to intern on an organic farm just outside of Milwaukee in a decision to finally put all that I had been devouring through books into action–to see if I could truly live out the beliefs and values that were beginning to grow within me. It changed my life there where I really learned how to cook with real food, the kind that nourishes instead of depletes, that unites instead of breaks down,
Food changed my life that same year when I entered graduate school as part of a two-year adventure in studying environmental education, so that I could learn how to best teach others about this integral act that we all participate in.
It changed my life the summer between my 1st and 2nd year in grad school, when I cultivated a Learning Journey to several farms in the Eastern US to learn more about sustainable farming tied with education, when I lived out of my car for 6 weeks and relied upon little money, lots of coffee and quinoa, and even more kindness and wisdom from strangers to get by.
It changed my life again in 2011, upon receiving my Masters and moving on from grad school to intern with the Women’s Environmental Institute, where I learned more deeply about what it takes to cultivate a healthy, holistic environment, community, and life through our food.
It changes my life now as a backyard farmer and gardener for a local Montessori school, where I learn about the wonders of how nature works and how intricate and important each relationship is.
Most importantly, it changes my life each day when I have the opportunity to harvest what I’ve grown myself, to cook a beautiful, delicious meal from scratch, and to feel full and healthy in mind, body, and soul when I have eaten that which is truly providing nourishment.