Almost each weekday, I take my bag with gloves, water, hat or scarf depending on the weather. I go to work and learn organic farming with Maja and Matjaz and my covolonteers. I like the collective work. I don't feel always as efficient as the others, but I am very grateful to work with kind and respectful people. We make a lot of things, sometimes in a group, sometimes alone. Always, what is done is a collective gratification, because everyone do as good as he can. That's what we learn here.
With all of its happiness and sometimes tangles, collective life is a set of individual stories,
Today, the story is : « At the beginning, were four volunteers : Mateja, Arnaud, Jeremy and Luisa. They became the best volunteers'team ever. But Jeremy had a sore feet and had to go back to Belgium. The team is still alive and waits for new adventures. »
So, each day one bag and three roommates. Two rooms, one bathroom, one outdoor table under a plumtree. Rain, snow, wind, sun. Songs, food, movies, bikes. Smiling, farting, talking, writing. Learning. Music with Jeremy. Sloven with Mateja. Painting with Luisa. Crafting with Arnaud. Inventing new crazy eco baraki horizons.
Nowadays, it’s easy to forget that vegetables don’t grow at the same time, and it’s even easier to forget the massive efforts required to get a freshly harvested tomato on your plate during the winter.
When I would talk about food seasonality with my father in Belgium, he would only talk about bad memories of him having to eat the same thing from his grandparent’s garden for weeks in his childhood at the countryside. Then I worked at my brother’s restaurant that would only work with seasonal products while having to change their menu every two weeks, and really realized what it means when he had to figure out how to cook the same turnips, carrots, potatoes and celeriac in various and delicious ways for a few months. But he managed to, and every time it was a success.
Now, since I got here at the Ekopot farm, I’ve lived through more than a month of red beet at virtually every meal, and I could go on till they disappear from the cellar. Obviously, we don’t feed only on red beet, but at the end of winter season, it’s
one the only things that we have in – so we believe – near infinite amounts. The farm is 80% self-sufficient in food, and that includes homemade canned products that we use in the winter when fresh products go fewer. So we do with what we have.
Red beet basically flows through my veins now, and what amazes me is that not once I – or my body – complained about it. The thing is that I never could dream of doing that with supermarkets’ red beet. Thus why I couldn’t ask that from my fellow
citizens. The reason I can do it is that I have access to sweet and tasteful products, grown with care and expertise by the Turinek and their volunteers.
Yet, food seasonality matters on many levels. Environmentally, having all sorts of products available at all times of year is a logistic and ecological aberration, yet is the norm and the goal that global food trade purposes to achieve. Besides, observing food seasonality is a great way to reconnect with nature and its rythms, going from the slow and bittersweet winter to the colorful and lush summer vegetables, as well as a great stimulus to get creative in the kitchen, as constraints enable creativity much more than unlimited access to any product at any time.
That is why we can’t strive for more sustainable food consumption without alternative, local and organic food supply chains, that can provide quality products throughout all the year, that will make you yearn for every season, because you will know that you will reunite with those products that have become vividly associated with these periods of time in your memories.
That’s how food becomes meaningful again, and stops to be a bland, given and random consumable like any other.
Synopsis: A family (parents and their daughter) comes in an alternative place in France to visit a friend. They stay some days and discover, thanks to the habitants, new environmental, social and politic principles to think and build an other society, more respectful of human and earth. Soon, they all understand that a « pandemic » has killed everybody on the planet, except them, i.e. those who are into the alternative place. Nobody else : the occasion to build their dream society ? And to face their paradoxes and the limits of the idealist ideas.
The movie describs/caricatures with humour new ways of thinking and experimenting the community life. No theoretical principles are perfect, but when the society faces critical situations, we need to try and experiment new ideas. Only who doesn't do nothing doesn't make mistakes.
I advise you this movie, to laugh a bit in this non-funny pandemic of Covid-19, which gets the importance of local food production and regional selfsufficiency across to us.
Courage and take care ️
I had been a vegetarian for a long time and always I was told, that it is easy for me. They said: '' You are a girl, you don’t work hard, you live in a city, you don’t know what hard work is, you don’t work physical... ''. And I never argued, because I don't like the ''religious'' vegetarians, who are fighting online and in the streets for a greener diet. But I tried to be calm and explained them the fact, that in the past the workers and farmers didn’t always had meat on the table. They eat it one or max two times per week, or more or less when they had it. But even that didn’t work, it was the same arguments about my easy lifestyle and being a girl.
Then last month I moved to Jarenina, to work as European Solidarity Corps volunteer in an NGO, EKO POT. As many of you know, this is an organization that provides knowledge about organic/biodynamic farming, sustainable lifestyle and self-sufficiency.
The farming part in the NGO came with a lot of physical work, even though I m a girl, as many said to me before, I need to work the same hours and do the same jobs as men do. And the most interesting part for me is, that the our diet is more or less vegetarian. So, we have 4 meals per day. We start with breakfast (bread, butter, marmalades, vegetarian spreads, cereals), then there is a cold lunch break (salad, cheese, bread, vegetarian spreads), warm lunch (rice, pasta, potatoes, vegetables, soup) and dinner (each takes what they like, but a lot of times we eat leftovers from lunch). Meat is almost never on the table during the weeks, more or less it comes with weekends. When there is more time to prepare a more complicated dish.
And we are all still alive. The work is never easy. In our community we have three strong kids, that have a healthy body and run like crazy when they are outside.
So next time when somebody will said to me: '' You are a girl, you don’t work hard, you live in a city, you don’t know what hard work is, you don’t work physical... '', I think I will start smiling and tell them the story of my ESC volunteer experience.
For the end I want to say, that this short ''diary report '' is not a paper about being a vegetarian is the only and the best option. But I think that a diet with meat 7 times per week on your plate is a delusion and not a healthy way to live.
I support eating meat one or two per week, if you know from where the meat comes. So, eat smart and try to buy local.
I hope you are not panicking too much because of the situation on our planet right now.
Written by an organic warrior from Slovenia, Mateja Marovt