Monday I went to Grinnell for a yoga class.
Not just any yoga class mind you, a special class taught by Jeanelle Boyer on her run across Iowa.
Yes, you read that right...she's RUNNING ACROSS IOWA. See...
It's not just any run across Iowa mind you, it's a fund/awareness raising run for Practical Farmers of Iowa and Slow Food USA. Which is why I drove 60 miles for a yoga class instead of the 15 minutes into one of the studios here in the DSM metro. Both of these organizations promote farming practices and a food supply model that is fair, healthy, and sustainable for our environment, those who work to grow/process/supply the food, and those of us who consume that food.
Jeanelle is one of those incredibly energetic people you kinda want to hate a little bit because she's doing amazing stuff, which in comparison makes you yourself feel a little like a sloth. But you can't hate her even a tiny bit. Here is a woman that on the day I spent a bit of time with her ran 30 miles (bringing her 6 day total to over 200 miles) and then after a shower sat down to ice her legs in the kitchen of my friend Monica (who had opened her home to Jeanelle and her support crew for the night) with blisters on her feet the size of grapes, a smile on her face, and questions and encouraging words for her new friends. (Never mind the fact she's mid-way through a 300 mile RUN!) She joyfully welcomed everyone who arrived at Grinnell Heritage Farm for our lovely outdoor yoga practice, laughing about the 4 goats who were our audience for the evening. And then, after returning to Monica's house for the evening, she generously offered us one of her run T-shirts, complementing us on how great we looked as we tried them on for size.
She's that positively nice.
But beyond the fact that Jeanelle is super sweet, and I got to visit old friends while in town, I wanted to participate in the class to help support the organizations and the farmers, like Andrew and Melissa, who promote respect for food, the earth that grows that food, the workers that grow said food, and those of us who are nourished by its goodness. It's a movement in the farming/food world that I find myself more and more passionate about. Maybe it's because I was fortunate to have grown up with a Mom who grew a big old garden, raised chickens, and canned/froze for our winter meals. I grew up loving (and honestly taking for granted) the goodness of home grown food and really never imagined there were kids who didn't have access to that same, simple pleasure. Maybe it's because as I have worked to make/find a peace in my relationship with food I've found I'm drawn to the natural goodness of locally grown, whole, REAL foods because it tastes better and makes my body feel better from the inside out. Maybe it's because as a Mom myself I hope to help my daughters navigate the often scary and confusing world of food in a way that helps them grow up with positive relationship with food and a healthy respect for the earth/people/animals who provide it for our consumption. Maybe it's because I've come to realize that one of the most valuable gifts I was given growing up was an appreciation for what it means to be respectful for what I am blessed to have in life. And in my opinion eating healthy, responsibly raised food while supporting local farmers and small operation food producers is all about respect.
To find your farmers' market, CSA, meat producers, etc visit Local Harvest and fill your dinner plate with wholesome goodness tonight!