Lots of my friends know that I have been trying to lose weight prior to leaving for Uganda. So far I've lost about 10 pounds, and that's cool, but I still want to get rid of 20 more. At first I just started counting calories and drinking water. Counting calories inevitably leads one to healthier food choices because let's be honest- even if you don't like vegetables....they're free in the world of calories! Let me confess right here, from the get go, that no one in my family (including myself) are HUGE veggie lovers. We live by the staples: green beans, corn, salad- not too exotic with the greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, and the occasional broccoli and cauliflower. No sweet potatoes. No squash. No greens.
And CERTAINLY no...in any form....
In an effort to encourage some vegetable eating, we've tried growing a garden just about every year. We've had great green beans. Great tomatoes. Great pink eyes. But let me just say- we still have some gardening skills to hone.
Plan B......this past Friday I took the kids on a field trip to Jones Valley Urban Farm.
Set in the middle of downtown Birmingham, this is one awesome community resource. Not only do they offer urbanites space to garden, but they also provide valuable education opportunities to those of us who are new to this whole "slow food" grown locally thing.
As we began our time with Ms Stephanie, she taught the children about ecosystems and gardening..
then she let them try some of the amazing produce growing at the farm.
(BEST broccoli I've ever tasted!!)
The children then began harvesting some yummy goodness.....
then the kiddos got to make a yummy snack of vinegar slaw with their spoils!
Would you believe my corn dog/pizza/chicken nugget eating boy bent over, picked a leaf, and began EATING it???!!
"Ben, did you know you're eating raw spinach?" I said in absolute astonishment.
"Wow Momma, it's delicious!"
You see, I'm learning that I grew up an organic eater on the side of our mountain in West Virginia. I''d go out with my cousin and we would eat whatever Mother Nature provided straight from her hand....blackberries, crab apples, pears. We had homegrown tomatoes and cucumbers with just about every meal. My grandparents had a fabulous garden and what they didn't grow the neighbor did and there was morning produce swaps over coffee and friendly visits.
I'm thinking that it's time to get back to my roots. To educate myself and the kids on eating well, to glean from the Earth. To take the time to learn about the food we're eating and where it came from. To cook and not just supply meals.
But old habits die hard, and we've got quite a few to break.