A few more tips for eating well in an age of uncertainty:
1. Don’t keep your whole house at the same temperature.
In an ultra-insulated age, it may be hard to find a cold spot in your house or garage, but keeping a cold storage area is a really good idea for storing your root vegetables and long-keeping fruit like apples and pears in case of extended power outages and service disruptions. Many of those who weathered the aftermath of Hurricane Juan in the fall of 2003 remember how heartbreaking it was to have to throw away the entire contents of our fridges and freezers after 3 to 10 days without power. With climate change as our new normal, we should be looking for alternatives to conventional food storage now, not later. Canning (pressure or conventional), fermenting, and natural cold storage can meet many of our needs on this score.
2. Support initiatives that aim to reduce food insecurity.
Many of our communities struggle to access good food close to home; sadly, that food is increasingly becoming the province of the rich. How can we provide these folks with extra food help?
- Donations to local food banks as Christmas or birthday gifts are never a bad idea
- Organizations like Halifax’s Out of the Cold shelter are often looking for donated hot meals during the colder months for those who must otherwise sleep outdoors.
- Organize a trip with friends to an agricultural area after harvest time to glean vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and turnips after the mechanical harvester has passed through. (Check with the farmer first; many are grateful to have someone collect what would otherwise go to waste.)
- Support anti-food waste initiatives, like Found, a gleaning group that sells its collected produce to local restaurants and donates the rest to food banks: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/found-vounteers-food-waste-farms-donate-food-banks-1.3658340
- Host an immigrant family or foreign student at Thanksgiving; Engage Nova Scotia’s Share Thanksgiving project will help connect you with eager guests: http://sharethanksgiving.engagenovascotia.ca/
In our own food lives, we can also strive to eat humbly but well. Be part of the potluck revival! Host a crappy dinner party (yes, it’s a thing—you can Google it) where you don’t clean the house, serve what’s already in the fridge, and get to see your friends way more often without the expense of eating at a restaurant. Remember: it’s you they came to see, not your house, whether cluttered or immaculate.
- Remember, too: A hopeful future will call upon each of us to strengthen community ties and both ask for help and offer it to our neighbours when needed. We can start this process with food.