Thursday, June 6, 2013

Living with Less: Finishing the Food Challenge

The end of this week marks the completion of our food challenge--we have not purchased food for three months with three guiltless exceptions. Both the root celler and the freezer stand vacant. I fill them mentally each day as I mark the arrival of our meat birds, trellis peas, and ready my canning jars for jams, pickles, and sauces. Rural living has taught me a thing or two about hoarding as well as unconditional generosity and sharing.

Before we left for Boulder to take a Wilderness First Responder course I piled canned goods into a box and leveled the greenhouse. During our lunch break we'd bust out the cooler and the cook stove and whip up a feast, intriguing our classmates. I enthusiastically piled tender greens and wild asparagus into my bowl.

At night, before settling onto the futon mattress stuffed in the back of my car, Dev dipped into a dumpster, filling a bag with over $100 worth of pastries which we brought to class the next morning. Again our classmates were amused. I ate at least $20 worth of the bounty and gave myself a stomach ache.

Generally speaking, I'm weary of concerted efforts to live with less--they seem like a cultural past-time of eco-chic elites out of touch with the everyday concerns of the average American/global citizen and yet, I spend a fair amount of time thinking about the consequences of our hyper-consumption culture.

I see my own obsession with wanting to live well wrapped up in this three-month food challenge and have an internal tug of war of sorts--just clean out your damn freezer and be be done with it! And on the other's fun to get creative with the dusty cans of corn and apple sauce put up years ago. It's fun to rummage through dumpsters. It's fun to feel a heightened sense of the everyday gratitude I experience living here--the many gifts of milk, cheese, and butter from neighbors, friends and house guests pumped up my balloon heart, swollen with the goodness of simple, kind gestures.


  1. Hello Marian! I saw on another blog that you said you've WWOOFed in France. I'm looking to do that this fall and was wondering if you have any recommendations for farms!
    Much appreciated! :D

  2. Hi Samantha! I did WWOOF in France back in 2003. I was in the Dordogne region at a farm called La Sorga. I think they're on Facebook. I lived there for about three months, though I travelled around with some of the people who lived there during that time. I bet the farm has changed a bunch over the past ten years...Let me know if you want to chat about it after looking in to it or if you need help finding info. I want to go back to France!! (this time I'd get to Provence) Cheers!