Tuesday, May 26, 2009

day #7

Today was the final day in my seven day week on the Live Local Challenge. You can see all about the challenge at http://www.livelocal.org.au/

Life is full of surprises and the opportunity to participate was a blessing indeed. The benefits I gained from this challenge were many, and I problem won't relate them all. For a start, I personally have benefited from new friendships and stronger bonds. In particular, to my co-challengee Kate Carruthers http://katecarruthers.com/blog/about/kcarruthers-on-twitter/ travelling this journey together we were each others support, supply of knowledge, shoulder to lean on and source of encouragement. In fact, it was Kate who supplied one of my highlights of the week with her "Free Hugs" sign!

As someone who is a slow and regional food advocate as par for the course, I was delighted by even cleaner stronger flavours as all the food was the freshest of fresh, mostly received or purchased on the day of picking. I really enjoyed stretching myself to think about what I was cooking, and the ways to work around missing some of the pantry staples that I was doing without (oil, salt, pepper, and all condiments). By virtue of the fresh food I was eating (and the food I was not eating) the week was what can only be described as a cleansing process. And, I now have a renewed sense of vigour.

Outside of the food benefits, was the changes in transport. Combined with finding local food this was a bit limiting as my friends and family and work are not local (walking distance). There was also a blessing here however, as on Sunday instead popping off to another neighbourhood to visit, I took a Sunday stroll in the area around my home. My neighbourhood, though in the heart of Sydney, has a village attitude. A local walk is taken too infrequently. Waves, smiles, hellos and other greetings from each person that I encountered, reminded me too well of this.

There was lots of participation from friends, some joined the challenge, many helped in my education, and some just provided encouragement.

It was a little bit tough at times, particularly early on in the week. I'd cleaned out the fridge. Started the challenge with no food, no preparation. And, that is one of the keys.

A key to this challenge is understanding food, seasonality of produce, and definitely being a confident and experienced cook was a big help. I'd encourage everyone to spend more time cooking, feeling the food, understand flavour combinations, knowing about seasons.

I don't think I'd embark on this again without preparation, and in hindsight the first few days were more difficult than necessary for doing so. For example, if I'd have thought about it I wouldn't have gone without salt. I would have evaporated off seawater and made my own.

At this other end of the challenge, I take with me new knowledge and greater awareness. This is not an end though, but rather a beginning for a new outlook and awareness of walking slower on the earth, and taking more time to smell the roses.

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