Thursday, 26 March 2015

10 things only a Locavore can understand

Lot's of people struggle with fitting time to cook and shop into their busy schedules. Cut out the convenience of a grocery store and the ease of ready made foods and you are a little closer to some of the struggles that I and others who endeavour to live local face on a daily basis. Here are 10 things that living as a locavore I have come to understand:
Small bills are my fav!
  1. $$ Cash $$
    • I always carry lots of cash now as most places I shop are market stalls. I actually like eyeing my money and being able to budget better this way but I run out of cash all the time.
  2. Local booze!!!!
    • When I discovered Red Neck Rye, a BC whisky at the liquor store I thought I had died and gone to heaven! The first few months of this journey I drank a lot of BC beer as I had not yet discovered the beauty that is BC spirits. The difficulty I still have with this is finding the right mix, for instance the only locally made Soda I know of is from Cariboo and they only have Ginger-ale and Root beer, thus my go to as of late has been Rye and Ginger's a la local. 
  3. Why isn't the farmers market open everyday? 
    • Only buying local products by shopping from local business's gets tricky during the week when you have a busy schedule. The University Farmer's Market is every Tuesday and we are lucky enough to have the Prince George Farmers Market on Saturdays so it isn't too hard to stock up twice a week but if you miss one or the other sometimes you go a day eating just potatoes...
  4. The thrill of finding a new local product
    • When Home Sweet Home brings in a new type of cheese or a long forgotten favourite (like Tomatoes!!!!!) you have no idea how excited I get! 
  5. Taking care of might not be able to find its replacement
    • I am very nice to my stuff, I have been mending a lot of cloths, I take shoes to the cobbler and treat things better. Making your stuff last longer saves so much money and the planet. 
  6. Insatiable food cravings
    • Sometimes I crave mayonnaise...It's weird because it's not like I used a lot of the stuff before this year but not being able to have a jar on stand by sometimes makes me crazy. I also crave foods that are out of season like broccoli and lettuce that are harder to find here. (Would die for an avocado!)
  7. Learning to say no is really hard
    • Want to grab midnight Denny's? Want to hit the Mall? Go to a movie? Saying no sometimes feels very limiting. 
  8. Food prep times
    • Every Sunday I cook a few meals so I will have food during the week. What I find is when you are buying a lot of raw foods you inevitable take on more food preparation time as a result. Taking the time to make food instead of having everything ready for you is both a challenge and a change but a great way to know exactly what it is you are eating.
  9. Living in constant fear of cheating 
    • Sometimes I have dreams about shopping at the mall and then needing to return everything because it wasn't local...When I was sick in February I bought a bag of Fishermen Friends by accident.
  10. Rationing
    • At the beginning of the year my cupboards were full of the usual necessities, flour, sugar baking soda. These things that I have committed to not purchase this year have become very dear to me....I just ran out of sugar... for the year!  Replacing it with local honey is fine, its just an adjustment. So I have become more careful about sharing things, I need to be able to get through the week, the month, and the year and may only have a limited amount of certain things like olive oil or sugar.  
I hope this doesn't sound like complaining as to be quite honest, I am loving every minute of this but am hoping that through the struggles the benefits will be so much sweeter. 

XX Melanie

"Every time you spend money you are casting a vote for the kind of world you want." -Anna Lappe

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Walking the line

With my University recently on strike I was suddenly put in a scenario where throwing all of your eggs into one basket can have negative effects on every aspect of your life. After more then two weeks off of school I can safely say I have have watched more then my fair share of Netflix, caught up on enough sleep to get me through the year and eaten all the junk food in my cupboards. Being off of school also means I am out of work as I have taken up all of my jobs on campus. Not only is my routine totally thrown off by being home for weeks I am also cut off from my finances and social world. Pairing the strike and the preceding two week winter break (an extra week to support the Canada Winter Games held in Prince George) means that I have been off of work for over a month.

The direct effects so far, apart from obvious classes being cancelled, also trickle into what I have discovered was a very precarious situation I have set for myself. I shop weekly at the University Farmers Market, which we had to cancel as to not cross the picket lines (#solidarity). Because I buy only what I need week to week, I have had to go downtown and shop outside of my normal vendors. This will effect there business's and livelihoods as well as my own as I am spending more then usual. The UFM is also a job for me and missing out on that work and events we had planned will impact the other people we employ and vendors who come out weekly.  I am also effected because all of my jobs, my only sources of income are all on campus. I work 2 shifts a week for the campus coffee shop which was closed for the duration of the strike. I also work for PGPIRG as the local foods coordinator and had planned a Good Food Box that due the strike has been postponed, and because of that have had to cancel next months box, which will mean less pay for me (probably half) for this month and next month.
Losing the Good Food Box as a source of inexpensive produce for the month means that I have had to shop for more produce at a higher price then I had budgeted. At this time of year buying groceries is slightly more expensive as food is out of season and harder to come by, thus being out of money I am trying to be resourceful with my eating choices whilst trying to maintain my local only diet. This means cutting back on extravagances, like my favourite organic cheese that is about $10.00 a block at Ave Maria's , or any cheese at all for me. Still this lifestyle at times is more expensive then the average consumers diet and not being able to afford to continue purchasing good food I was driven to visit the campus food bank to grab a few cupboard items to tie me over.

In short, less money and more expenses makes Mel a broke girl.

I am not blaming the strike on anyone, it happened, but I was not prepared for how much it would effect me and how fine a line I walk. Heading back to class tomorrow (and to work) I am looking forward to moving forward with the end of this years studies and regaining my financial stability and seeing all of my friends at the Farmers Market again!

Have a great week!


"No one benefits from a strike." Chaz Bickers

Monday, 2 March 2015

The Half Way Mark!

It is hard to believe I have made it a full six months already without shopping in a grocery store or buying new things. March 1st represented the halfway point to my year long challenge of eating and living locally. In 6 months I have learned a lot about the local food movement and have gained valuable information about how I want to live after this challenge is completed. Things to take away already:

  • I will continue abstaining from grocery stores and sticking with local suppliers. 
  • I will expand my garden and preserve more so that my garden can feed me into the winter. 
  • I will buy used cloths and on consignment where I have found better quality cloths this year and saved heaps of money. 
  • I will cook with friends, share food and pass on recipes, building community through food. 
Sure my strict regime may seem a little unreasonable at times but I feel that it is important to make the difficult decisions in order to understand how each choice we make is apart of a ledger system. But after such a time when I no longer feel the struggle but am comfortable in my lifestyle I constantly think am I doing enough? Can I possibly get more local? Is it possible in other parts of the country more so then Prince George? I feel like there is much more I could be doing, cutting out take out and only cooking what I can buy here will help control where my food is doing from but at what cost, to my social life, to the small business I eat at, to my sanity? I don't have all the answers but I do know that so far my life has been possible and delightfully local and the next 6 months have only delicious things in store!

Cheers to the rest of the year,


"Believe you can and you are halfway there." -Theodore Roosevelt