Monday, 29 September 2014

I need new pants!

Can someone please help us make a decision so I can buy new pants!

Eating locally has had its benefits for me in so many ways and has now manifested into my shrinking waist line. Which leads me to my current internal back and forth about where I can go to buy new clothing. Typically I would have hit the mall, riffling through the sales rack's at the back of stores for something cheap and cheerful. That convenience has now been removed while I attempt to live as locally as possible and I must seek alternatives to find new cloths. Here in Prince George that means used clothing. I am left with good old clothing swaps, Kijiji and a plethora of thrift stores as my friendly alternative to purchasing new goods. But even when I look at thrift stores I find issue with them. My favourite (featured in the photo's) in town has been Value Village because their selection is like no other, but did you know that Value Village is a for profit thrift store and worth $1.5 billion a year? That doesn't fit in with our local model but where do we draw the line. Salvation Army is also a chain store but is a non-for-profit like St. Vincent de Paul and many other charity thrift stores, should those count as local if they are charitable even though they are chains?

Why I buy second hand:
Buying used is good for your wallet saving you tons on the retail value of most clothing. Like a gorgeous tweed Michael Kors jacket I bought at Value Village for $25 that normally retails for $300.  It is also good for the planet to purchase second hand as it not only reduces the waste of that garment but also means less cloths need to be produced because of it. Not to mention most thrift stores donate portions of sales towards charities like St. Vincent de Paul in Prince George. My last and guiltless reason would be that I don't feel guilty about having too many cloths when I know they cost me less and went towards a good cause, this means you can have a more diverse closet and a higher turn over of your wardrobe.

So now I put it out there, best thrift shop suggestions?

Happy hunting,


"I shop at thrift shops probably five times a week." -Macklemore 

Monday, 22 September 2014

Adventures in Beer!

Local Beers at the Thirsty Moose
I was going to talk about work mostly but it seems like this week has been focused on beer! Currently I am tasting local beers (everyday this week) at the Thirsty Moose Pub  and eating delicious Meatless Monday options! Get in here!

This week my food obsession was complemented by some amazing local events that I was lucky to be apart of. Wednesday, Angela and I attended a wine and cheese night at Home Sweet Home as part of Feast PG. I also helped out at Mead Dating at Nancy O's on Thursday and had a blast sampling local beers and meeting singles ;). This week at UNBC is Good Food Week! Which is an event I helped organize to showcase the great food options we have on campus and get people involved and interested in food. Check out UNBC- Campus Food Stategy Group for more information and to follow our week. It has really been a great week for drinking locally and I have felt amazing support by being included in of all these great events.

Wine & Cheese Night at Home Sweet Home
Now to talk about work: I personally feel that your work should be a reflection of your values, which is a big part of a lot of the work I do on campus at UNBC.  I work as the local foods coordinator with PGPIRG, working on local food initiatives on campus and putting together the monthly good food box that sources ingredients from as local as possible. Another job I have on campus is working with the Campus Food Systems Project, which is a national project headed by Meal Exchange and the Sierra Youth Coalition. We work on food procurement, supply chain issues and food security issues on campus including organizing Good Food Week. Part of that role and one of my passions is my work with the University Farmers Market which I am co-chair of this year. All of this work puts me in a place to not only work on local food initiatives but allows me to make connections and learn about the food system in Prince George. All around, I seem to be obsessed with food through my work and life.
Mead Dating at Nancy O's

Thanks to helpful comments and feedback from followers, parts of my life that I had not previously considered have now become more localized, including my work! My side gig as a barista at Second Cup, a Canadian coffee chain where I worked for about a year before I started this project, had to be sacrificed for its integrity. Working for a coffee company that I would not even feel comfortable purchasing from just made no sense to me. Though they do source coffee with the rain forest alliance certification Second Cup only has one fair trade coffee and no organic options. They also manufacture a lot of their goods from all over the world and do not represent the type of business practice I can support. Incidentally I found out that the campus coffee shop was hiring and they served locally roasted, fair trade and organic coffee and they compost, can you say upgrade?

Cheers to a week full of local beer and good food!


"I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day."  -Frank Sinatra

Monday, 15 September 2014

Temptation Alley

I didn't take a sip!
Being local on the weekends can definitely be easier then during the week at times. You have time to cook, be with friends and visit markets. However the weekend can also lead to many temptations and my first real test at how committed I would be to this personal challenge. Drinking appears to be my kryptonite,  a few weeks ago I was an avid vodka drinker and I am still fighting with urges to order it everywhere I go. The other day at a bar with friends I mentioned how much I missed my go to Blueberry vodka soda and before I knew it someone had bought me one. Now typically my rule has been I can accept gifts though I cannot make requests, I felt that by planting that thought I had indirectly asked for this I resisted it. That may seem incredibly trivial in the grand scheme of things but it was really hard for me to say no to that drink and a great personal feat. I sipped on my Growers Pear Cider from the Okanagan and carried on with my night, in the end I had a great time once I got over the slight adjustment to my drinking habits.

No ice cream for me!
Another time I was tested this weekend was when all of my friends decided to grab ice cream after a long hot day of volunteering at the compost site at UNBC. Now I realize this is a personal choice so do not pity me for choosing my own plight, but it was a little tough to say no to that too. The idea of self deprecation for this challenge is not the end goal. I am not trying to make my life miserable or deny myself from eating good food. I guess it just comes down to my definition of good food and what I want to eat will be evolving this year and focusing on all the wonderful things I can do and eat is becoming more important to me as I navigate the world of local living.

Fried green tomatoes, smashed potatoes,
maple roasted carrots and yellow beans. 
Dinner with friends

With the bounty from last weeks farmers' market I made a delicious meal (if I do say so myself) for my friends and get to eat its leftovers all week for lunch. Enjoying friends, and celebrating the positive choices we make every day towards local, sustainable living are more important than stressing about the things I am missing out on. Because at the end of the day, I am gaining far more then I am missing.

This week I am super stoked for Feast PG from my friends at Home Sweet Home, check out their Facebook page for more info and perhaps I shall see you at some events!!!

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

To hummus or not to hummus?

Angela and I at the University Farmers Market
So I have finished my last expired can of chickpeas that I had in the cupboard and am now faced with a very serious hummus or not to hummus? As a vegetarian I love eating it and it adds an import piece of protein to my diet but chickpeas just aren't local are they. Which leads me to my conundrum, I can buy organic chick peas from my local grocers Home Sweet Home but just because I can buy chickpeas locally, should I? On the other hand with the rule that I can eat locally prepared goods I can purchase delicious home-made hummus from them or the farmers market, but neither the raw chickpeas nor the prepared are truly local. How much sense does it make to purchase hummus I could make myself for much cheaper, only because I am not supposed to have the raw ingredients. Does this mean I can't eat hummus this year?

(Side note: here is a recipe for Balsamic Hummus that I am obsessed with! )

These are the types of ethical conversations I have with myself and often talk out with Angela on a near daily basis. I can agree that eating local is a very important part of this local challenge but the other part was to also include local living. If we take that into consideration, supporting local business', restaurants and suppliers would be in direct conflict with local eating ideals. Can I eat sushi that is from a local business even though they do not source locally? Even if I am eating at the most local restaurant in town which to my thinking is Nancy O's, will everything I intake be local?  Most likely not, but definitely better than my other options and the option of cutting any dinning out at all. Therefore from hummus comes the larger questions of what I can eat. I can think it to death and never really find a comfortable position, so for now I am sticking with locally sourced, locally produced and locally made.

Even though I am surprised people know my name , we have still been getting attention this week. Yesterday CKPG News stopped by our University Farmers Market Kickoff event for a chat. And this morning we did a quick little interview with CBC Radio 1 for their harvest series,  check out our conversation here. Thank you again for all the love and support! 

Happy Wednesday, 


"What we plant in the soil of contemplation, we shall reap in the harvest of action." - Meister Eckhard 

Sunday, 7 September 2014

What is Local?

Helping with the Dome Greenhouse at UNBC
This first week of our local challenge has been amazing. We have received so much love and support from our friends and the local community that we know this year will be our best year ever. Angela and I are both full time students at UNBC so our first week on the project also coincided with our first week back at school. This meant for some interesting choices like can we eat at the campus pub or from the free bbq? A lot of conversation has been happening about what is defined as local and what we in turn interpret that as for the scope of our project so here is where we are at so far.

Local means produced or prepared in BC. This means we can eat local produce, locally prepared goods, and locally made wares. That includes food grown in BC, personally I am only eating local organic cheese but staying true to my vegetarian roots, as this is difficult to locate in the north it means less dairy for me on a whole. Locally made jewellery, clothing and goods are up for grabs too, so everything at farmers market's feels like open season for us. Prepared foods has been the iffy category for us but we feel like if we are purchasing prepared foods made by local business's we are in turn supporting our local economy. If we ask where they source their food they may not be consistent with our personal goals, so does this mean by supporting local industry that support unsustainable food purchases, are we losing the plot?

Used, salvaged and recovered- This also means we can purchase anything second hand as we were not a part of the original buying power and the initial spend that went towards the producers. (I am still looking for a used Mat & Nat backpack if anyone see's one!) We can eat food that is free, leftovers and expired food needs to be saved from hitting the land fills. We can also recover food, dumpster diving and leftovers from conferences are so on our radar. We are still going through our cupboards for the next few months, eating what was purchased in the months (and sometimes years) before our switch to local, my favourite being the can of expired pears I've had in there for...awhile that I am saving for the winter months when I miss fruit.

Waste reduction- We will be attempting to reduce our waste throughout this process by eliminating as much plastic and wrapping as possible from our 'life diet'. You can do this easily yourselves by saying no to plastic cutlery and straws, bringing your own reusable bags and eating in instead of take out. When you shop more locally you actually end up using less packaging by default as local stores and business's often make there own containers and tend towards reusable containers.

Fresh Peaches

It has been a busy week but we feel we are off to a great start. We just got a 20lb case of peaches from our favourite local grocers Home Sweet Home and are cutting up and freezing them to enjoy throughout the winter. I am still cultivating from my wee backyard garden and look forward to enjoying some of my hard earned veggies very soon. Today I am going berry picking, I don't know if I will find anything at this point in the season but it is worth a try!

Happy hunting,


Monday, 1 September 2014

The Beginning

Our last meal at Denny's for a year
Today is the first day of my experiment to eat and live locally for one entire year. What seemed so straightforward before is now becoming incredibly complicated and full of questions I am not sure how to answer. The rules seemed simple, eat only locally sourced goods from local businesses, but in practice we are already in conflict on our fist day. The issue of banana bread seems to be a big one, does it make sense for us to buy banana bread from the farmers market if we know those bananas were imported? Home made Salsa in February? Coconut milk from the local grocers? The limits to our daily lives will be drastically altered if we attempt to live on only BC produced goods, but is that even possible? These are questions we are currently trying to tackle and would appreciate any insights people may have in our journey towards local, sustainable living.

As for day one, no major changes have become apparent to me yet, so far just another day. I brought back local organic cheese and Maple Syrup from Ontario and seeing as my local grocers is closed for the next few days I will be living off of cheese and crackers with syrup until Tuesday when I can go shopping again. A small sacrifice but a delicious one!

Here are the top 5 things I'm going to miss this year: 
  • Netflix (cancelled this morning)
  • Avocados
  • Blueberry Vodka Soda's with Lime
  • Shopping (designers)
  • Going to the Cinema
Think of all the money I'm going to save though!

Have a lovely day,