Food is love and love is food! Not sure if that is a popular saying or if T.S. Eliot is ringing in my ear, but recently I had Mexican cuisine. Every time a blue corn tortilla chip meets guacamole, a feeling a joy springs into the mouth followed by a tinge of guilt. The guilt has nothing to do with the flavors or the spices, it all has to do with the main ingredient – avocados.
Living north of places such as Spain, Portugal Mexico and California, where the soil and climate conditions are ideal for avocado growth, Canadians are left with importing this delicious fruit thousands of kilometres to enjoy an exquisite bowl of guacamole.
It’s so hard to see avocados in a bad light considering how healthy they are for the body, but avocados are not the problem. The real problem is much bigger than any one item we find in any grocery store because most are culprits in the law of supply and demand.
We buy anything at any time because we have a seasonless calendar of food distribution.
It reminds me of something the former U.S. president Bill Clinton said in an interview with Dan Rather on 60 minutes about the affair disclosure with Monica Lewinsky: “I think I did something for the worst possible reason – just because I could. I think that’s the most, just about the most indefensible reason that anybody could have for doing anything. When you do something just because you could...I’ve thought about it a lot. And there are lots more sophisticated explanations, more complicated psychological explanations. But none of them are an excuse....Only a fool does not look to explain his mistakes”.
Unable to explain his mistakes, Clinton would go on to list a number of important aspects of his life in office followed by,”....I had a lot of great days”.
We all have great days, but how we deal with the not so great days says more about our character as human beings than our successes.
To quote another president, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power”- Abraham Lincoln.
Two presidents, two different characters, one question.
If it was in your power to contribute to the present and future vitality of the planet and yourself, would you consider changing your eating habits?
We are not talking about trying another fad diet, we are talking about joining the slow food movement. This international movement was founded by Carlo Petrini in 1986 as an alternative to fast food and encourages the farm to table approach that eliminated the ‘middle man’ and brought food from farm to table.
For more information on the history of the Slow Food Movement, click on Carlo Petrini.
The Slow Food Movement connects the local food systems with the consumers and establishes multiple levels of interaction that aim to preserve and cultivate long-term relationships to local culinary traditions and foods that are celebrated.
The list of objectives are impressive - preserving of seed banks and heirloom varieties to ensure food sources sustain themselves with minimal effort and expense and provide the highest level of available nutrition; educating consumers about the risks of fast foods, monocultures, the reliance on too few genomes, the drawbacks of commercial agribusiness and factory farms; lobbying for the inclusion of organic farming and against government funding of genetic engineering and the use of pesticides.
Petrini believed “everyone has the right to good, clean and fair food. Good, meaning a high quality product with a flavourful taste, clean meaning the naturalness in the way the product was produced and transported and fair meaning adequate pricing and treatment for both consumers and producers.
We are at a unique point in human history where the exponential growth of the human population is on a collision course with the finite resources available on this planet.
What we know is the economics of global trading is not sustainable and commercial trade depends on limited resources. The steady increase in gas prices over the past few years has no signs of slowing down. The magnitude of the dilemma has been described by a number of documentary activists namely, An Inconvenient Truth, Zeitgeist, Zeitgeist: Addendum, Zeitgeist: Moving Forward, Earthlings, Food INC, Inside Job and Collapse.
Eldridge Cleaver, writer and political activist, coined the phrase, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”.
If being a part of the solution appeals to you, consider the world of farmers markets that are scattered throughout the City of Toronto. Vendors offer a variety of fresh, natural and seasonal foods grown in northern Ontario that includes naturally raised meats with a focus on health for the body and the environment. Baked goods and breads are often available.
If you are at the Dufferin Groove Park in the west end of the city Thursdays between 3 to 7 p.m., outdoors around the rinkhouse in summer; in and around the rinkhouse in winter, you will find Dufferin Grove Farmers Market. This farmers market is home to a dedicated group of vendors that supply everything from Organic breads and gluten free products to honey, bee pollen and duck, goose and quail eggs.
For a list of vendors and products that are available, visit http://dufferinpark.ca/market/wiki/wiki.php
One of Toronto’s largest farmers’ markets is the Evergreen Brick Works where anywhere from 65 to 85 vendors set up. More than an outdoor market, the 52 000-square-foot site offers guided tours of the kilns building, an art gallery, a 20,000-square-food native plant demonstration space, a community environmental centre, a children’s garden and play area, an eco-friendly, sustainable café, outdoor gardens and pathways for walking and cycling in the summer. There is year round programming http://ebw.evergreen.ca
Another popular year round farmers market is in the Artscape Wychwood barns, a one-stop shop for groceries, cheese producers, honey, jam, artisan crackers and raw chocolate splendors to name a few. Once you find your favorite stand and try out few samples, conversation is sure to blossom into hearty laughter dabbled in copious amounts of uncontrollable smiling.
From their website, “This multifaceted community centre brings together arts and culture, environmental leadership, heritage preservation, urban agriculture and affordable housing to foster a strong sense of community”.
For all the details click on, http://torontoartscape.org/artscape-wychwood-barns
For farmers markets in Toronto and across Ontario link to http://www.toronto.ca/markets/index.htm
We are all in this together. Our generation will either be a part of the solution or continue the problem until an uncertain end. Yet, we have options and The Slow Food Movement enlivens the slogan ‘Think Global and Act Local”. In the process we are discovering a new sense of community that in the words of Petrini is both good, clean and fair. I’ll buy that; what about you?
Salvatore Spatafora is a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) residing in the Forest Hill area. In addition, clients can experience the profound benefits of intuitive Craniosacral therapy. The artistry of his work is guided by a degree in architecture, a love for Japanese calligraphy and raw food desserts. Reach him at 647-286-5157 or visit wwww.likecloudlikewater.com