If there is a word that stirs emotion in agriculture, it’s “modified.” I try to avoid discussing plant modification unless there is plenty of time to explore the full definition and many angles from which to consider what it means. That said, it is fascinating to explore whether we can enhance the nutritional quality of some plants. Strategies to improve the nutritional status of our global population are always top of mind for me.
Throughout my career, I’ve been lucky to visit several small family farms. I’ve chatted with farmers, learned about their craft, and spent time sharing their passion. There is often a story that brings them to this challenging and highly rewarding work. There is a common theme that runs through them all, which is their devotion to their work, their deep love for their animals, their connection to their soil, and the pride they share in being able to nourish their community. I’ve always walked away from a farm tour with a sense of awe as to how they do it, and of course, a deep appreciation that they do.
There seems to be an ever-growing amount of content available online for our children. If you have internet-savvy kids, you know it’s super tough to keep up with. Has your child approached you in recent weeks asking if you have instant coffee that she can whip into the perfect beverage? If so, just know they are aware of many fun food hacks, ideas, and crafts available to them. My own daughter finds these things, but it’s not until the New York Times picks it up that I pay attention. I get it: the struggle is real here.
Our ability to transport foods across the country (and the world) is exceptional. As a result, we consumers have grown to expect produce year-round that was once only available seasonally, along with foods that cross cultures, and tremendous access to high quality, fresh foods. Today’s supermarkets are doing such a great job that it’s easy to forget just how much goes into ensuring those foods are on store shelves and filling fresh departments. However, the supply chain that brings food to shelves so that it can eventually make it to your home kitchen is a network of devoted people who are the lifeline of this country. Let’s take a moment to highlight everyone from the farm workers to grocery store stockers and the home cook too, who take on the challenge of maintaining a safe food supply and nourishing our homes and communities.
With fewer trips to the store, the need to stock up on frozen fruits and veggies is greater than ever. Today’s supermarket is packed with a plethora of frozen packaged produce so that it can still be on your plate, in your smoothie and flavoring your oatmeal even when you aren’t able to visit your farmers market or fresh department at your local store.
Extra, unexpected time at home can be viewed as a moment to bond with our families and explore new culinary ideas or nourish them with homemade foods that we don’t always have the opportunity to prepare. At a moment when so much is unfamiliar it can be nice to be in the kitchen where life feels like a constant. If you have extra time at home to be in the kitchen, consider these ideas.
At times when so many factors feel out of our control, it’s essential to remember that we can still guide our day and the experience we’ll have, even if it’s not at all the way we pictured it. When life feels uncertain is when we need to embrace the small steps we can take to better our health and feel in control.
Not leaving the house to “go to work” seems great on paper. You picture the super short commute, flexibility, and comfort of knowing you could work in sweatpants if you wanted to. However, the work-from-home balance can be easily disrupted when loved ones are home and need caring for, schools are closed, or any other stressful situation has you feeling unsettled. This combination of a shift in your usual and greater stress can undoubtedly lead to unhealthy eating patterns. That said, even on the best “work from home” day, we need a strategy for keeping our meals in check, our body properly nourished, and our bored appetites out of the kitchen.