I use a lot of this space writing about food, mostly because I spend a fair amount of time thinking about what I eat.
I am the one who does the cooking in our family, but also, I got serious about getting and staying slim about 18 months ago. My plan started with a food journal, to figure out just what I was putting in my mouth each day. It was quite an eye-opener. Since then, every day, I keep track of what I consume with a little app called loseit! I've hit my weight goal and stayed there for nearly a year, but I plan to keep using the app, just to remain aware.
I've also spent a good deal of time in the last while reading about food and food production: Fast Food Nation, Eating Animals, Tomatoland, The Omnivore's Dilemma, The Dukan Diet, In Defence of Food, The End of Food, even a novel centred on food, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake.
All of this explains why I'm so intrigued by the thought of a food cooperative in my neighbourhood. Of course, when I heard the words "food co-op", I thought of beans. Lots of beans. Beans in doughy salads being eaten by hairy-legged Birkenstock-wearing peacenik vegetarians. After all, those are the people who belonged to the co-op when I was in university and the one in my neighbourhood back in Toronto.
I'm pro Birkenstock by the way, and a big fan of hairy legs. Although I'm not ready to be a vegetarian.
If 150 people sign up for the co-op at $100 off the top and $60 a year, the venture can get started by this fall, with dry goods and some produce for sale to start with, and more selection after a while.
I'm seriously contemplating joining, putting my money where my mouth is, sorry for the pun. Judging from the large number of cheques being passed across the table last night, I'm not alone thinking this is a good idea.
My sweetie, though, is skeptical. He wonders why we would pay for the privilege of buying. I couldn't explain it very well, only to say that it's about knowing where the food comes from, which is important to me, and being part of something that might make a tangible difference for a small farmer trying to stay on the land.
Surely that's worth it, I thought after the meeting as I chowed down on dill pickle potato chips and some of my homemade rhubarb nectar. And doesn't that little vignette provide a perfect picture of the battles we all face these days when we eat? Oh, we want the good stuff: the homemade, the safe, the real, the local, but we also want the 'other' good stuff: high fat, empty-calorie nothing food that tastes so very fine as we mindlessly munch.