August UFH Challenge #5: Create an Eating Plan

Where by “eating plan” I do not mean a menu plan, I mean a list of items that you eat. Do you know what you eat? You need to in order to be a mindful eater (the purpose of this year-long challenge.)

I also hesitate to call this a preservation strategy because not all of you can or want to preserve all of your own food. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t preserve some of it, or do things like eat in season to take a bite out of the commercial food industry.

Preserving local, seasonal crops and eating in season has the added benefit of dramatically reducing your food bill – if you find smaller farmers to buy from, and shop around for better prices or seek out U-pick locations. And that makes eating good food affordable for nearly everyone who has time to watch television so don’t let anyone tell you local food is only for the elite!

But back to your list. Your list should be more detailed than just “meats, vegetables, eggs, dairy, fruits, nuts.” Perhaps it will read “chicken, beef, pork, eggs, milk, cheese, leafy greens, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, onions, garlic, applesauce, strawberries.” Perhaps it will read “fish, dried beans, peas, peanut butter, nuts, leafy greens, beets, squashes, soy milk, blueberries.” If you are having a hard time compiling your list, go look in your pantry, fridge, freezer, garbage and recycling bin.

No matter how your list reads, I want you to sit down and think about how much of each food you will eat, and at what time of year. Where and whom will you get each food from, and how will it preserved? Will you do it yourself or buy it that way already? Do you have storage space, garden space, freezer space, pantry space? Do you have the time and desire to preserve during summer’s all-too-short months? Do you have helpers in the family, or family members that will support you and be excited to eat all the food you grow/harvest/put up for them?

There are many different eating plans – in fact every one of you will have a different plan based on your climate, your personal preferences, your schedule, living situation and family members.

There is no right or wrong eating plan!

The right plan is the one you feel good about, that you enjoy putting into action, consuming and sharing.

What this plan does for you though, is make you think about what you eat, when you eat it and what went into getting that food to you. This plan will make you a mindful eater.

If you want, you can take this plan even further and try to preserve some or all of the foods in your plan using the methods we have already challenged you with:

Canning with Marissa of Food in Jars
Fermenting with Wardeh of GNOWFGLINS
In garden or garage cellaring
Eating locally in season.

For more information on canning and fermenting, check out my recipe index, or Wardeh’s new podcast on food preparedness.

This concludes what may well be the most important month of the Urban Farm Handbook Challenge – food preservation (or the lack of it, as in eating local seasonal fare.) Thanks to those readers who have been playing along and allowed this August challenge to extend so far into September. Or Augustember as I will forever refer to it.

And now, head on over to the freshly re-dated round up post to leave comments or link up with your Augustember activities in order to be eligible to win some great prizes!

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