Sunday, June 17, 2012

M A K E It Happen!

I cook, farm, create, write, organize and now I MAKE!  As the lady behind Begin Vegan and an Intern with Earthly Delights Farm, I have been appointed as Food + Farm Director for Boise Mini Maker Faire 2013. This is the first Maker Faire here in Boise, Idaho and I couldn't be more excited to be a part of this.

Boise Mini Maker Faire Directors signing out first banner brought
 from the San Fran Maker Faire!  Thanks, Adrian!
One of the reasons I relocated back to Boise, Idaho is because I knew I belonged here.  I came back to grow with my city.  I feel that we - this city, my fellow citizens and I, are on this fantastic journey to making our mark on the map for much more than just being the state capital.

Boise is full of innovative, talented and original artists of all mediums.  We are creators and in May 2013 we will have a platform to show and tell.

I don't mean to brag (oh, but I do!), however, ... Boise has placed:
and my favorite finding

With the music scene blowing up, Treefort Music Fest was the cherry on top that tied together all of the emerging artists and the very cool locally-driven Radio Boise (Antler Crafts, anyone?)   I'm proud to bring another smashing event in Boise, Idaho to provide the citizens the chance to present their skills and works - known and unknown, and share the knowledge and the how-to's of their projects.  The spirit of Maker Faire is to get to know those who are making and see how they make and why they make.  Described as an "adult science fair" in the Boise Weekly article written by the lovely Tara Morgan - it's all about the launch, curiosity, sharing, networking and education - minus any talks of religion and politics and definitely no sales pitch.   It's very no-stings-attached, all fun-sided learning for the made-curious!

Adrian, Jen, myself, Heather and Carol - part of your Boise Maker Faire team.
Picture by Barton - also part of the team!
I've been an eager DIY-er since I was little.  As a kiddo, I used to cross stitch, illustrate, write short stories, design super high tech furniture, jump into the kitchen as much as I could and on and on...!  I'm still nothing short of fascinated with what people can make.  From dresses to homes (earthships) people are making amazing things out there.

As the first ever Food + Farm Director, I'm following a "Farm to Table" theme where we can all learn the DIY aspect of food.

My signed flag on the official Boise Maker Fair banner! 
As the first ever Food + Farm 

At the 2013 Boise Mini Maker Faire we'll also be exploring what food is, what's in your food, who makes your food.  You'll be able to interact with the maker and learn how it's done and why.

Boise's Urban Agriculture movement is proving beneficial for the health and wellness of our communities, our environment and our local economy.  At this event you can learn sustainable food growing practices and then teach others.  I can't wait to see what the Boise community brings to the table!

If you are a maker of any sort - trust me, there will be a category for you and your hobby - whether it be a little garage hobby or something grand and perfected please sign up to be a part of the start of something really unique and wonderful.


Come one, come all + click here to become a maker!



Monday, June 11, 2012

Eat Sustainably | Eat Local

Olympia Co-op | Westside  

Zissou-in' | Shelton, Washington

Recently this article came out with studies trying to prove that organic consumers are "snobs"and I've been thinking a lot about the titles we give ourselves and how they seem to define and restrict us.  I've had many discussions on "foodie elitists" from all types of diets and have been thinking about the different reactions to people choosing to no longer be vegan .  I must say, I have always been for Boise consumers buying local as much as one can, but I didn't have that "Aha!" moment until I did some deep thinking while up for the Mother Earth News Fair.

Eating local, seasonally grown food is the most sustainable way of food consumption and demands for the most sustainable practices for growing/producing food.

When I say "eating local food" I am referring to the act of eating in season, organic (for ourselves and the environment), locally-produced food.  I add in organic because this is very important, although it is often left out of the definition.  I think eating organic goes hand in hand with eating local because it helps sustain our land, encourages you to get to know your farmer and build trust within the community.

This doesn't mean my vegan beliefs are gone with the wind.  I still support the idea that if everyone eats a mostly vegan diet that they will have optimum health.

"Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly Plants." - Michael Pollan

Herbs from our local organic Purple Sage Farms! 
On the water in Shelton, WA
 I believe that the smaller and closer the farm, the better.  Ideally, growing your own food is best and although most of us run out of room and time to fully grow everything - small steps towards being more sustainable are better than nothing! As Joel Salatin explained at Mother Earth News Fair - you don't need money, you don't need this or that - you just need to start participating!

Back in Oly!
The first weekend of June, I was in Washington for Mother Earth News Fair.  We were staying in Shelton, Washington on a gorgeous, lush 5-acre plot of forest that hasn't been touched in about 25 years.  It was no more than a 5 minute hike down to the water where you could fetch your own oysters from the bay waters.  There were even salty sea greens available which I added to my polenta breakfast one morning.  One evening, deciding on dinner, we drove all over searching for the Olympia Co-Op so that I could prepare a separate vegan dinner for myself while my friends had fresh shellfish from the bay!

I ended up buying packaged gluten free noodles and organic frozen peas and grapeseed veganaise to go along with some veggies we brought up from our farm for a pasta salad.

Since leaving Washington, I have wondered why I hadn't just enjoyed what was available right then and there.  An oyster dinner would have been the most fresh, most nutritious option at that time.  That's when it started to make sense to eat fresh, local, food - whatever it is, wherever you are.

I had a very similar situation when I started finding out about juicing and the power of raw foods.  I believe that yes, raw foods are best for you - as cooking often depletes the nutrients.  However, I came to the conclusion that here in Boise, Idaho - I want hot foods, especially in the winter.  I shouldn't be eating all raw produce from California through the months when I only have potatoes and squash available right here in Boise. 

Go with what nature has to offer, when it offers it.

Locally-made goat cheese crumbles
 We're all guilty of running to the nearest grocery store to grab a _______ (fill in the blank) - an avocado in February, tomatoes in November and bananas throughout the year.  These things, when out of season, are trucked up from the places far, far away from us where it is fresh and grows locally.  Over the days on the truck and the next few on store shelves and even more in your fridge - your food has lost a lot of the nutrients it had from the moment it was harvested.  The quality is compromised tremendously over the journey your imported, out-of-state food must go through.  One thing to keep in mind:  Is it really worth it to eat low quality food with dramatically less nutrients?  The whole point of eating, after all, is to nourish our bodies.

Educate yourself at Farmer's Markets - see what is available!  It teaches you to eat seasonally - as you should! No matter what your diet is you can see what is fresh and within a low traveling distance to get to you.  This includes meat that has been raised nearby, vegetables that are grown in a community garden and dairy that when you purchase the product, you are also supporting a neighbor organic farmer.

You can print off your own Idaho Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables calendar here!

At Mother Earth News Faire with my good friend Leslie
of GMO-Free Idaho
I always advise people to listen to your bodies and do what's right for themselves.  Forget the titles that are thrown around for status purposes.  I've learned a lot being a vegan and it has led me to consume a smarter, local and organic, plant-based, whole foods diet.

We are here on earth for our own journey and for our journey as a whole.  May this stimulate thought and inspire education!


BONUS! This article won The Ecthicist Contest put on by the New York Times and judged by some big names including Mark Bittman and Michael Pollan.
Harvesting Peas at Earthly Delights Farm!