Today was the Farm 2 Food Bank food processing Blitz. That is a bring your own knife party. I am sure the zucchini I was cutting up was the same zucchini we boxed up last week. One of these days I will pull the food straight from the dirt. I don’t feel that I am getting to know my food better per se but that I myself am entering the cycle as a perishable. Human life is as fragile as the World we take for granted and waste. I do not feel that we are elevated but rather just another aspect of nature like a tree or fish. We are just as vulnerable to the changes occurring on this planet; even those people who are blissfully unaware of our effect.
Today was about putting up food. The Food Bank can only handle so much fresh produce so the fresh fruits and veggies need to be made into something with a longer shelf life like pickles or relishes that can be canned and preserved. The food processed will be given a second chance by being donated to the Food Bank or sold at local farmer’s markets to support the program.
The vegetables today were broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, corn and peppers.
Everything needed to be washed and cut up and salted or steamed and then processed by means of canning or something along those lines. It has been a long time since I have worked on such a grand scale. I rather enjoy the mindless repetition; the women behind me with recipe books are planning everything. I am washing and cutting, rinse and repeat. At some point I make lunch for everyone. I stood stirring a large caldron of soup. The faint smell of gas and heat from the flame mingled with the smell of sauteed veggies. I revelled in the fact I was feeding everyone food that was rescued. Food someone, somewhere, had determined was garbage yet here we were eating a nutritious lunch of it. Our bellies would be full and we were going to feed a unknown multitude of others with this food. I feel as though I have stumbled upon a hidden treasure. There is something magical about this food; there is something taboo about it as well.
When did it become alright to throw away food as “excess”? When did we begin to look at resources as something to be taken for granted, something that is ours personally to waste? I do not want to sound like I am on a high horse but rather I am humbled by my first hand experiences. Reading about the World’s problems are not the same as witnessing them. Mountains of food piled high in volumes that are actually hard to comprehend even as I handle them and wash them and eat them. I repeat over and over that this (insert vegetable name here) looks perfect. It looks like it came straight off the shelf at the supermarket, but it didn’t. This food did not even have a chance to be picked over by hungry consumers. This food was too small or too big or too ripe or too early or too late in the season. This food somehow did not get the seal of approval and was now considered waste to be thrown out or plowed over or to be used as slop to feed animals. Yet here I am looking at this rejected food that made a delicious soup that was created in a gourmet commercial kitchen. I hold a zucchini in my hand and cannot begin to imagine how many pieces of food we could not save. I start to image all the wasted food and how voluminous it must be. I imagine this kitchen and this Entertainment Centre that holds thousands of spectators being filled with wasted food that would pour out all of the doors and fill the parking lot. I imagine every person who had ever sat in this building holding the armloads of food that is tossed daily and thinking how not a single one of them would go hungry again. This thought is profound.
Tonight we ate dinner that was made up of all local and rescued food.