I’m back in Colorado for the first time since I graduated college in May 2011. I’ve been hiking, seeing friends and family, and enjoying the novelty of 0-5% humidity (I forgot that sweat can actually dry!). Maybe it’s because I’ve been removed from the city for a couple years, but Boulder somehow seems even more green and hippie-friendly than I remember. My fermented foodie dream came true when I discovered that they have kombucha on tap at the local Whole Foods (the flavor of the day was “wild root”). Sam and I also enjoyed yerba mate and vegan carob chip cookies at the Yellow Deli, a restaurant owned and operated by an obscure religious sect. Needless to say, Birkenstocks, Tevas, and Chacos abound.
Unsurprisingly, food activism thrives here in Boulder. Through a mutual friend, I met one of the founders of Boulder Food Rescue, an incredibly forward-thinking non-profit that redistributes food “waste” to homeless and low-income populations. But even in this seemingly hyper-aware and informed city, there is a long way to go to creating a completely sustainable food system. What does this mean for Mississippi?
For one, I’m sure Mississippians won’t have the haughty–and often hypocritical–attitude of many Boulderites when it comes to lifestyle choices. But at the same time, I wonder how receptive Mississippians will be when it comes to making dietary changes that incorporate more whole, healthy foods. Rebecca Rosenthal (check out her FoodCorps blog here), a fellow Jackson FoodCorps service member and one of my future housemates (!!), puts it perfectly:
“When you know first-hand the dramatic benefits of eating a consistently healthy whole foods diet, it’s easy to fall into “preaching” these habits to other people without any concept of reality or of other people’s preferences and needs.”
Like Rebecca, I want to avoid being preachy. But as a newcomer to the South, how can I adapt my teaching plans and my own understanding of health to Southern culture and attitudes while also accounting for Jackson’s distinct socio-economic reality? I have a lot to learn, and I’m hoping that the FoodCorps Orientation which I’ll be attending in Portland in about a week and a half will answer a lot of my questions. I will definitely be posting about that later!
In the meantime, I still have about a week left in Colorado, leaving me plenty of time for more vegan treats, fermented effervescent drinks, mountains, and thin, dry air.