Friday, 28 October 2016

Minimalism Mel?

Capilano Suspension Bridge- Vancouver, BC
My contract was up, my lease was up, I looked around and realised I was totally free! How lucky I felt. So I decided to pack up and move on. I am currently road tripping through the US on route to Ottawa to see some folks. From there I am going abroad, to where is still undecided. What was decided was that I needed less stuff. Thus the struggle, challenge and liberating experience began to eliminate all the things from my life and to fit into my little coupe.  As therapeutic as it may seem to sell off my worldly possessions to travel again, it is also a very difficult and humbling experience for me. Though this is not the first time I have moved away, or started over, this time I am approaching it from a different angle.

The first time I left home I was 21 and heading to Europe. I sold all the IKEA furniture I had accumulated in my Toronto apartment, stored many boxes at my parents and took 4 suitcases with me. I got rid of the cheap things that I collected to fit into the world I didn't. I moved to BC with 3 suitcases, but would have needed a moving van to leave it. This time around I took care and time in accumulating the things I now wish to rid myself of, which is maybe why its hurting more. They may be worth less in gold but I carefully thrifted, swapped, received and made everything I have now. When I sell my car it is something that I took time in searching for, painstakingly maintained and made memories. It makes it harder to part with.

Mt Walker- Olympic National Forest, WA
Last week was hard, I sold my chickens who were a source of food from their eggs and beloved pets. Then I sold my bicycle, Bernadette, a bike I loved so much I named. With the weight of their worth in my pocket in the form of funny coloured bills I replaced my things with a value that doesn't translate to how I valued them. To me its not as simple as buying something new. Its a choice every time I make a purchase, towards the type of economy and world I support and want to live in.

Donating old clothes, selling off furniture and pieces I could have kept a lifetime. That's just it, I don't need any of it. I remind myself every time. When I teared up a bit when my last chicken left I told myself "I will survive." The ability to willingly let go of these things, even if I love them is in itself a privilege. I acknowledge this and vow to use their "worth" towards the idea that I will find happiness through the experiences I am about to have, and not through the things I am letting go of.

By shedding what ties me down to this place it also makes me free from it.

Bob Red Mill- Milwaukee, Or
Minimalism Mel? When it all adds up; having things translates to consuming. We should all consume less to preserve the environment and its resources, therefore minimalism should be embraced. This time I plan to go abroad with 1 bag, and leave behind 1 box. Every time I buy something I need to ensure I have to space and willingness to carry it with me, it makes me buy less. Every day on my road trip I eliminate something from the car, its like a little game I play. Yesterday the cooler got cut "you have been eliminated" I told it, as I dropped it off at goodwill in downtown Portland, Oregon.

Things can be replaced,  you can learn to live with less, the adventures and memories I'm making cannot.

Have a lovely day,


Follow me on my travels on Instagram @melaniejadea

"The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak." -Hans Hoffman

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

10 Reasons I am getting my tubes tied, Today!

At 26, I am sure I do not want children. I am so sure that today, I am getting my tubes tied! In a simple, 45 minute procedure I will do away with a future of worrying about reproductive health and my clock ticking. It is so routine that  I will be back in my bed this evening with the assistance of a friend and back on my feet tomorrow afternoon. Easy peasy.  Let's all get one!

I have been considering having my tubes tied as a more permanent form of contraception for many years. However, if you are under the age of thirty and have not had children, it is highly unlikely a doctor will agree to such a procedure. It is just too common for us women to change our minds apparently. As my doctor explained to me, up to 30% of women who have their tubes tied will have it reversed and only 30% of those women will be able to conceive afterwards. He told me he didn't want to live with the guilt of taking away a woman's ability to give birth, especially a young, unmarried and childless woman.

I had an IUD put in at 21 the first time I asked a doctor about more permanent contraceptive methods. She said I was too young to make those kinds of decisions. I agreed that I could think on it more. Five years later I was at the end of a 13 month waiting list and sitting in a room filled with expecting mothers and young children plotting out my arguments. In an effort to convince this strange man of my assuredness, I built my case with these points:
  1. Human Overpopulation- Number one reason for me not to have children is because the world just has to many bodies on it right now. We have surpassed the carrying capacity of our planet by not being responsible breeders. Too many people use up too many resources and take up too much space from other species. The easiest solution is, have less children immediately. Fortunately, the birth rate has been declining as the developing world is beginning to have smaller families but the rise in population is forecast to increase for the next 35 years or so. Right now what you can do it decide not to have any more mouths to feed.
  2. I have never seen myself as a mother. I know the urge to be a mother usually develops over time. It is just something I do not see for me. 
  3. My body, my choice.
  4. No more pill! I started on the pill at 12!!! I will not longer need to rely on hormones and pharmaceutical companies foe my reproductive health and responsibilities. 
  5. Insurance- Literally the main reason I (and many young women) ever worry about insurance was to pay for the pill. 
  6. Chemical Free, I can live a life less chemically altered than taking hormonal contraceptives for the majority of it. 
  7. Environment, so not only will I be using less chemicals, I will also be reducing the amount of run-off or sewage of contraceptives that get into our water stream and have effected hormone levels in men and children- See article 
  8. Adoption- There are so many children in the world who need a home that it just seems selfish of me to have my own children. My doctor asked me what would happen if I met someone who
    wanted children and I explained that my ideal person would also be thrilled with adoption if we decided to take on children together. Until then I am free to wander, me by my unattached self.
  9. I have more interest in my chicken babies than real ones. 
  10. No more explaining. I will be able to shut down anyone who asks me if or when I'm having kids, again. "I just can't". I really am just saving myself from a lifetime of reproductive questioning and bullying by the mainstream who attempt to devalue me as a woman for my choices. 

I love babies, they are beautiful and necessary to perpetuate our existence. We just have so many, too many and my little drop in the bucket is to not contributing to that. I worry my friends and family with children will judge me as rejecting them and their lifestyles. Please do not. I think your little dears are just precious. My choice does not mean I do not respect yours, but it it my choice. The message for me is, you have one!

Have a lovely day,


Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Murder and Meat Mondays

Over the past couple of years I have been on a journey of self discovery and learning about a how to make the food system more sustainable and just for everyone. One of the pieces that I have struggled with is to eat meat or not to. I have been a vegetarian for the better part of 14 years (as described in this post), and have always toted "if I can kill it, I can eat it" as my reasoning behind abstaining. Living in my little corner of heaven on Vancouver Island I am on an organic farm, next door to an organic farm, free range- grass-fed beef farm and an artisan cheese making dairy with SPCA certification. What a place to be for a local food lover.

The Neighbours have been raising 150 unsexed chicks which meant a bunch of unintentional roosters were produced. Working there I saw them butcher a couple a week to eat, they had to be disposed of because too many roosters is a very violent place for chickens. I understood that this was humane, the meat was organic, the animals free run and happily clucked about their days. So why shouldn't I eat this meat?

Because I was given the opportunity and was able to watch a few being processed I worked my way up to be the actual executioner. The knife was placed in my hands and I sawed off its head after a few minutes of squirming. It wasn't pretty, but I got through it. I helped pluck the feathers and the farm roasted and spiced it up. Later I was presented with a piece of chicken,  it could have been any old piece of meat but this time I was responsible for its life. It tasted, a little tough to be honest. I had never tried rooster before but kept seeing the head while I chewed him up. As a recovering vegetarian it was a very odd experience for me and I didn't 100% enjoy it. In the next few days I would work on the leg piece I was given but my body rejected those foreign enzymes I wasn't used to and I was a little sick. 

I tried again soon after, I went for back-bacon from the neighbours freshly butchered hogs, the ones I had personally delivered from the butchers. This time it tasted rather delicious but again my body unaccustomed to any meat was being over loaded and let's just say, that week was a bit icky. Having access to good, local food has definitely been a game changer for my diet and stomach.

Now, I am not about to hit a drive-through and order an unidentifiable cheeseburger any time soon, far from it. But instead, I am incorporating meat into my diet that is local and sustainable from trusted and known sources. I was recently given a meat bonus from work (I know right) that is ground beef from one of the older dairy cows. Other than being the coolest job ever it also means I am using an animal who's meat is not highly valued in the market and using it to its full extent.

I would rather support the industry of small, organic farmers, treating animals fairly and butchering good, sustainable meat sources than revolt an entire system that is other wise a natural part of the human diet. Being a vegetarian ignored so many parts of life that involve animals. Most shoes have leather pieces, cheese has rennet from cows, agriculture is responsible for eco-system destruction and deforestation. At the end of the day all the food we eat negatively impacts the lives of animals and the world around us and none of us from vegan to carnivore are innocent of this. So a balance must be struck. I have a problem with the industrial food system and not small farmers and it is important to remember that.

In the end, support what kind of food you hope everyone can eat one day. For me that is farm fresh and local that includes organic produce, meats & grains. And everything in moderation, Meat Mondays!

In good food,


Monday, 3 October 2016

Post-Summer Update

Goldstream Provincial Park

After a few months off I am back and eager to catch everyone up on my summer and new post grad life! I have left my personal bubble of the university that was a safe space filled with like minded individuals. I have found that the rest of the world has a lot of things to catch up to in their ways of thinking about the environment and sustainability, sometimes frustratingly so. Never the less my new home on Vancouver Island has proven to be a bit of a hub of local food loving and conscientious  people. Be it the burgeoning young farmer and agrarians groups or the musicians and yuppies, people seem to generally agree on one thing- Local food is the bomb diggity! While some of us preach the word others are in the trenches building the foundations of our future food system. I salute you fellow foodies and I beg you spread like wildfire across the landscape.

So many exciting things happened this summer, here is a quick run down:
  • I eat meat! (post coming soon!)
  • Vancouver Island
  • Organic Farming
  • Chickens! 
  • 2 jobs
  • Farmers Markets 6 days a week
  • Moving (again!)
Hard at Work 
This summer has been the most local loving yet and I had a blast doing it. Though my summer contracts are finishing up and I am looking forward to moving on to new projects in the winter months and a bit of a break in between. 

Stay tuned for the next exciting chapters!

XX Melanie

"Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything." -George Bernard Shaw