This will be my last post for this month’s focus on Movement One: Food, so I’m going to focus on one of my favorite foods – Beans!
It’s a pretty underrated food. with a bad reputation for giving people gas. But beans are a wonderful source of protein and fiber, and a very affordable food. In their dry form they store really well, or of course you can buy them canned as well.
I’m in favor of buying them in bulk as dry beans. Unfortunately, I know many people just don’t know how to cook them! A food bank staffer once told me that no one wants to take the dry beans, so that they consider them basically trash at the food bank. A real shame, I feel.
That said, cooking beans does require more time than most home cooks have to dedicate to dinner these days. That can be worked around pretty easily and cheaply with a Slow Cooker, and some advanced planning so you start the beans ahead of when you need them. And this year I got my first InstantPot, which means that now I can decide in the afternoon that I want to have beans for dinner and still cook them in time.
Another option for the time-crunched home cook is to cook your beans ahead of time and keep them in the fridge to toss into your recipe. I have done that with chickpeas, cooking them ahead of time and then having them in the fridge to put on top of salads.
However you find the time, you’ll be opening up a whole new world of affordable nutrition. You can get the basic dry beans at any grocery store, and warehouse stores often have giant bulk bags. Or, while it’s a bit more money, there are amazing heritage bean varieties out there you may never have even heard of. I grow some beans in my garden each year and have lots of fun with the cool colors and shapes and flavors. There’s also a very cool company, Rancho Gordo, that specializes in heritage beans.
So I encourage everyone to try more beans. Healthy, sustainable, affordable, they check all the boxes.
This week we participated in a local climate action group discussion of the film Kiss the Earth.
The film is worth watching, and has some good ideas in it. Some of it had me rolling my eyes a little bit, but then again there is also a story of a farmer in North Dakota who read up on Thomas Jefferson’s farming practices to figure out how it was done before all the chemicals came into being …. and that story I found delightful!
A few take-aways:
Our nation needs to change how we do farm subsidies!
Ranching and animals have a place in the cycle (but feedlots do not).
Composting programs are needed and great, and we should work to encourage them.
Groundcover, not naked earth!
If you have time and interest, the film is worth watching. It’s available on Netflix right now. And, whether you have time to watch the film or not, the title is a good reminder to us all to be grateful to the soil. The living soil of this planet is truly a miracle and we wouldn’t be alive without it. Life on land basically boils down to a few feet of miraculous living soil and the fact that it rains. For those things I lift up so much thanks. Let’s take care of the cycle.
Yesterday I listened to the TED Radio Hour, which was all about Food. It was an excellent program, and gave plenty of food for thought (sorry, couldn’t resist).
All four of the interviews were fascinating and are worth listening to, but a stand out for me was to find out about Alexis Nikole Nelson aka “The Black Forager”. Her TikTok channel is all about identifying edible weeds and how to prepare and eat them. In her interview, she talked about how foraging had changed her relationship to food, and how she sees us (human eaters) as part of an ecosystem.
And that’s what Movement One of the 12 Movements is all about! How can we change our relationship to food and become more connected to the natural and human systems that bring us our food?
This month I’m going to be working my way through the first of the 12 Movements of Resiliency , which is Food. We begin with this most basic of human needs for a reason, as it is foundational to our well-being and resiliency. Good, healthy, and sustainable food should be a human right, but unfortunately instead there are people going hungry all around the world.
I was reminded yet again to be grateful for my own food security this week as I unloaded my weekly groceries into the pantry and fridge and flipped on the radio. A story about the climate change-caused famine in Madagascar came on, outlining the dire conditions people are facing there.
Here I am, putting away the $200 of mostly organic food I’ve just purchased at the local Food Co-Op, which will feed my family of four for a week, and aren’t we incredibly lucky to have that? Here, in a wealthy country, we can easily take food for granted. Of course, that’s not true for everyone in this nation of income and resource inequality: an estimated 42 million people in America are food insecure and hungry. So I really want to remember and to be grateful for the blessings of good food that I do receive, as well as reach out compassionately to those without and work to make the whole food system more just and sustainable.
It’s a large and complex issue! Join me here this month as I explore it more. I’ll bring some of the exercises and reflections from the 12 Movements program to this space, as well as other resources, reflections, and ideas.
May we all find greater resiliency, together. Blessings,