Michele Minehart

words & yoga

Month: June 2014 (page 1 of 4)

Get thee to thine Farmers Market. (It’s for the Children.)

When we moved here nearly 3 years ago, the first thing we did on the first morning in our new town was visit the Farmers Market. I fell instantly in love. Great veggies (we moved in late July, so the everyone had a great spread), the Leaf & Vine had a “Champagne Brunch” which I instantly imagined our life in 10 years and JJ and I actually getting to go, childless. I came to a tent with the Stone’s Throw Market banner and they had Snowville Creamery milk, a farm from the greater Athens-ish area. Swoon. By winter we joined the co-op and came to depend on their organic dry goods, fresh butter, grass-fed meats and free range eggs.

Today I made a quick trip to pick up my 700 pizza crusts I ordered from Mosquito Creek Farm and was saddened not to see that same white tent filled with jams, granola, milk and eggs. The co-op dissolved this past May because the membership didn’t put forth the energy required to move into a new store and grow. While member numbers were high, shopping numbers were low. We were a group of people who believed in local economy and farmers market foods, we just weren’t a group who used our money to show it on a regular basis.

When we don’t buy directly from a farmer, we likely instead purchase from the same group of products. For instance (note this source is from June, 2009. This has likely grown):

This chart is specific to if you tend to enjoy organic “health” foods. If you’re a mainstream shopper, there are a few more.

Source

Even when you buy organic, it seems that our dollars go to support the same major players of our food supply. Even worse, many of the food we see on the lists above get their raw ingredients from sources that utilize one major player of our food system – crops grown from seed via Monsanto. (So, while Monsanto doesn’t “own” these companies, there is a significant interest in the food economy).

Why do we care? Well, some don’t, and that’s fine. But it seems that this major distributor of goods that goes into nearly all of our food doesn’t want to tell us exactly what’s happening at the seed-level. In order to keep things covered, the company is willing to sue the state of Vermont because it’s about to impose a labeling law to give consumers full disclosure about not only what is in their food, but what has been done to their food before it was put in the package.

Apparently Monsanto has more money than the State of Vermont as it seems to be going this battle alone. Previously, Monsanto won a battle over labeling in California in 2012. That time it partnered with some of the above companies for campaign funds – “The “Vote No” campaign’s biggest supporter was Monsanto, who threw more than $8 million themselves into efforts to defeat the measure. Dupont, Pepsico, Bayer, Dow and Syngenta were also big funders of the opposition, each contributing at least $2 million apiece.” (Source)

The amount the grassroots believers had to to use to get the word out? A total of $8 million, against the $45 mil the big companies put forth.

All of this to say, there is a lot of money in food. A lot. I know in our budget we give more to groceries than our mortgage (though, admittedly, we have a below-average amount owed on our home).  But when we decide to spend our money at the grocery rather than the independent baker, farmer or butcher we are giving money to the same people over and over and over. If I believed in their general goodwill and concern for the health of my children and yours, this would not be a problem. However, I tend to believe that the topic of conversation in the boardrooms and laboratories always goes to the bottom line with out much question of “is this proven safe?”

I’m currently buying goat milk for Sir M from a family farm. We facebook each week about when I’ll be picking it up. They give me fresh baked bread and a free dozen eggs, collected that morning, when they have some around. But more than that, when I started giving it to the baby they would message me to ask how the little guy was doing, if he was adjusting well and offered some tips. There is an intrinsic, unprice-able benefit to knowing the person who is feeding and raising your goats.

Buying food directly from growers – specifically ones committed to non-GMO farming practices – is my best attempt to rectify a broken food system. There is too much money and power at play for me to believe that I can simply believe that my interests are being considered.

If you want to hear this from the voice of an analyst, then perhaps consider this:

 

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Who wears short shorts?

Packing for 4 for any length of time can be quite an event. While I am quite practiced at it and each child has a bag and they even help me gather the necessary items, I have found the best approach to be to pack on a grid: types of clothes in a line for each kid.

Pack on the grid

And while I check and double check, invariably someone arrives without a swimsuit, underwear or seasonally appropriate shirts. I’ve accepted it as my lot in life .

So when I dug through 3 baskets full of clean clothes and couldn’t find a single pair of shorts for Baby M, frustration arose. Digging, digging. Aha! Yes. When he ends up without pants, it will be a surprise, not because nothing is clean.

Then I realized they weren’t his shorts. They belong to the (nearly) 3-year-old daughter.

Short Shorts

On the right: Girls size 3t. On the left: Boys size 6-9 months.

I’ve realized that these shorts were, well, short. Most of them are. Frustratingly so. Both of my girls have more than a pair of shorts that don’t pass the fingertip rule.

My problem is a little bit the lack of modest options for my 3 – THREE – year old. But the other problem is the double standard. The clothes makers are cutting the same pattern for my 3-year-old girl as my 6-9 month old son. (In actuality, he’s a year old, but apparently quite the scrawny guy.)

The shorts I folded for my oldest boy when he was 3 were distinctly bigger than his infant sister’s. Why is this not the case for the girls in comparison to the infant brother?

Part of the solution is me – and you – the consumer. We buy it and therefore it continues. It’s a known economic fact that companies rarely continue product lines that sit on the shelf year after year. So solution #1 is to stop buying short shorts.

This incident is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to my internal struggle to talk about bodies and sexuality and standards, especially with my girls. (Note: I’m quite careful that the boys hear the same message, but they generally have to think very little about what they wear.) How do we explain differences, some that are anatomical and some that are socially-driven? Why do we expect certain things from boys and girls? Quite clearly, we’re different, only one of the genders can carry a baby on the inside. But how does that translate into how we look at our bodies and then dress them?

This morning H Boy asked if he could go to swimming lessons in just his trunks, without his sun shirt, and I agreed. So, of course, Miss M asked if she could go bottoms-only. I told her no and, as expected, she wanted to know why. It didn’t make sense in her head: boys boobies and girls boobies at this point look pretty much the same. Why is one person’s expected to be covered? (My response was that I wasn’t sure, but I thought it was related to girls being able to feed babies with their boobies. Which is not helpful because I think it’s completely appropriate to feed babies in plain view. I’m discrete when I nurse, but your discomfort with my breast is not a reflection of me or my hungry child, it’s an indication of your view of breasts.)

Teaching modesty is a struggle for me right now. I don’t believe short shorts are advantageous to anyone in our society and while I want my girls (and boys) to be free to express themselves through their fashion, I’m not sure short shorts express anything noble except to say “ASS”. Honestly. What else do short shorts say? Am I missing something? I don’t believe the girls choose the short shorts because they advertise their sexuality, but I do believe they wear them because they’re available. It’s what they know.

Oh, dear reader, we’re in for a journey on this one. Stay tuned.

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Shave me the effort

My sister once told me if she could choose any time and place to visit, it would be my Grandma Mary’s farm growing up. She had some great stories. Like when she rode home with her older sister, Glenna, after play practice and Glenna was “sweet on” the boy driving (note: I believe they were in a horse and buggy) and that boy put his arm around Glenna. Incredulous, as soon as they got home, Grandma Mary told her dad. When she went upstairs to dress for bed, Glenna came in her room to tell her, “don’t you dare tell dad that boy put his arm around me!” And apparently Grandma Mary just nodded and ducked under the covers.

Who wouldn’t want to see that play out? Or at least ride in a horse and buggy and watch the play. Or see Glenna’s face when the boy made his move.

Sports fans probably choose to experience events like watching Jackie Robinson get his first hit in the MLB. History buffs might return to some defining moment of a great war. (I’d love to hear in the comments what moment you would choose).

I would go back to the very first person who decided to take a razor to her legs. I would bust into her bathroom before that Schick got too close and beg for a second thought. This decision has the power to change the image of beauty and it will require a lot of time spent in the shower, I would say.

Why do we think we're better off shaving?

Thanks Betsssy for capturing this moment originally as not many put pictures of shaving legs up for a CC license.

At some point in our collective history women had hair on their legs. They accepted it as part of the curse and blessing of being a homo sapiens, along with walking upright and opposable thumbs. And then some woman, probably not in her most glorious of moments, thought, “if we take the hair off these legs, they’ll be smooth.” Why did she consider this as an option? What led her to this silky smooth discovery? What, exactly, was the problem hairiness, like all the other mammals?

Little did she know what would happen just two days (or, as is the case for some of us, 2 hours) later. STUBBLE. Oh, you can always let it grow back. <- LIE. The itching. She didn’t account for the itching.

Not to mention the nicks and cuts involved. I remember the day of my junior prom laying on the floor with my foot elevated on the couch because I had gashed my ankle to the point of gushing. I have yet to shave around the area where the foot bone connects to the shin bone without drawing blood. One would think that after 15 years of practice that I would improve my technique.

It gets worse. Years later, this misdemeanor evolves into “the brazilian.”. (WHAT THE?! Seriously people, what kind of person under the guise of genius inflicts such pain on other people? I’ve not undergone such a procedure but I can’t even write about the idea without wincing).

A quick googling will give you all kinds of interesting reading on the great shave, but does not provide me a date and place to stop this atrocity  when a time-traveling Delorian arrives at my door.  Until the interwebs produce more accurate research, I will stand with this gal in blaming the fashion industry. First, they sell us new and more revealing dresses, then they sell us a pink razor to make the look more appealing.

While we’re on the topic, then, I would like to call on the carpet the pointless act of making ourselves more tan and painting the nails of our extremities.  Now a few niche markets make bazillions by  inducing upon me time-sucking and sometimes painful tasks.

Sometimes, it really is a lot of work to be so beautiful, isn’t it?

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