Thursday, September 6, 2012

Cheaper Nuggets: A series about fun and frugal farm food

By Hannah Harder

This begins the swashbuckling tales about one eco-mom's shortcomings and successes in getting her family to eat and learn about sustainable local sourced food. 

Cheaper nuggets!

The plethora of sustainable food choices that has grown in Oklahoma in just a few short years is increasingly delicious. Admittedly, in my attempts to eat well and in line with my convictions I have been known to way overspend on groceries, particularly because I am much more prone to drooling over recipes rather than dabbling with receipt books. I have also too frequently bought into the lies that sustainable food is usually extra expensive and inconvenient.
However, quite by accident, when adding up the ingredients I used for my first post, I was astonished when it came out to be cheaper than a fast food restaurant!
This, I realized, is something worth talking about. Even my husband would agree to pursuing such a challenge...(I love you darling). I am even inviting him to share his perspectives of what it is really like to be married to a Tree Hugger. You will be able to read our letters and witty banter in the Tree Hugger and her Hugger section.
Some backstory: growing up in the valley in southern California my parents were both working full time and scrambling to get by. We subsisted on a hearty diet of hot dogs, boxed mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese, with a side of canned green beans. We ate cheese puffs and commercial cheeseburgers and washed it down with large milkshakes - a diet not unlike most of America today.

Now I am a biologist and an environmental scientist. I've learned more about health, and about the multitude of gross social and environmental injustices that we contribute to in our haste, in our carelessness, in our convenience; in our food.
Now I’m also a mother. My two boys are six and three and my daughter is a little under a year. They have made my convictions about sustainability matter and I am trying to more consciously teach them the progression from garden to grub.
In my moments of exhaustion, of which there are many in parenthood, I regress back into old ways of eating and being, thinking of fast food is inexpensive and easy verses sustainable food appearing inconvenient and expensive. Actually it is the other way round.
I have to continually ask myself if I’m creating a life that is cheap- poorly made, of inferior quality, and easily broken and disposed of, or if I am cultivating a life that is frugal but rich in authentic connections with people and place, good, healing; enduring. Likewise are we ingesting nuggets-cardboard pieces of mystery meat, or searching for wealth through what we plant with our hands, pull from the ground, and put in our mouths? But easier said then done. How can we live and eat more sustainably? How can we dwell in simple pleasures? We all need a map, a field guide, a cookbook, a log; even, a prayer. We need community.
I hope that this series will be all of the above for you and the children you love. Check back often to share in our eco-adventures, read some rants and raves about current issues in sustainability, find out what it’s really like to live with a tree-hugger, share in farm and food memories, and combine it all with local and sustainable kid-friendly recipes that will have you eating for LESS than fast food.
We also will look forward to hearing about how you too are making small steps in sustainability and showcasing your own stories and memories in our Reader Stories section. Just begin. Do small things with great love.

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