Supply Chains…And a Challenge for Pemberton’s Non-Gardeners

How is everyone doing? I have been thinking about so many of our assumptions lately. That the tourists will come. That Whistler Blackcomb will open. That our kids will be in school. That I can get on a plane and fly to Italy. That I can ride the ferry. That I can go to the store and purchase what I need.

Our supply chains:

I read a locally published book about a decade ago called The Cucumber Tree – a memoir by a man growing up in Vancouver in the 1940s and 1950s. He recalled evenings with his family; dinner was always at home. Never would they go out for dinner or even out to other people’s homes for dinner parties. Dinner was prepared and eaten at home, every night.

We just have assumptions that we can go out for dinner and that we will be able to travel. And this is a new assumption. It has only been since I was growing up that going out with the family was a thing. And to recall, it only occurred on a special occasion. I do not remember too much of it going on but if we did eat out, it was to a family-run pizza restaurant in my neighbourhood in Vancouver. We have so many lifestyle assumptions under fire right now.

Back when my parents were growing up food supply chains were different and going back further your family and your home was a big part of the supply chain. You ate what you grew. You preserved what you could for the winter.

Here in Pemberton yes, we are very lucky to have farmers and so we would assume that we will always have access to good healthy food. Yet…

Many articles are being written lately about growing a “Victory Garden” and that if you can you should be more food secure within your own backyard. It is time to get cracking. If we are not gardeners then this would be the time to start. If you don’t grow anything then maybe this year grow one thing – one thing that you aren’t going to be reliant on anyone else for. If you live in a townhouse or condo in town, can you grow your own herbs? Sprouts? Micro greens? If you have a yard but simply don’t garden, start with one, two, or three items that will sustain you. I would lean towards items that are hardy like chard, kale and spinach. Fresh herbs – parsley, cilantro, dill, basil, chives – make a meal.

A Note on Veganism:

I am thinking vegans and vegetarians are pretty pissed off at the world, with Covid-19 originating from the filthy Wuhan, China wet markets and the disgusting treatment of wild animals caged for human consumption there. I think we owe vegans and vegetarians enormous respect, and I think they have every right to be angry. Maybe this is that time to pursue veganism or vegetarianism, or to pursue this way of eating as best we can.

I read all the Little House on the Prairie books by Laura Ingalls Wilder when I was a kid. My favourite was Farmer Boy and how the Wilder family grew all their own food, spun their own yarn from the merino sheep they raised, and were successful in their efforts. Do you think there were any vegans back then? When the supply chain began and ended with you and your family throughout the year, where did alternative eating come in? Something to chew on. Respect the planet, have knowledge of where your food comes from, and if you can, raise it, grow it, hunt it yourself.

What would you eat if you had to grow, raise or hunt it yourself?

A meal from my own yard, by a minimal gardener (who may become a proper gardener this year):

Sautéed garlic scapes (sautéed in hazelnut oil, which I would have to learn how to make)

Spinach salad garnished with cilantro, dried saskatoons, and toasted hazelnuts, with a dressing of hazelnut oil and minced garlic

Fruit salad of chopped apples, cherries, plums, and apple-pears

Barbequed deer steaks (hunted locally by my spouse)

If I were to get serious about my victory garden I would plant spuds, beans, hardy greens and romaine lettuce. I am considering a small backyard chicken coop. It would be a lot of work, but individual food security is a worthy goal. I consider weeding back-breaking labour after about 15 minutes of crawling around in the dirt, mosquitoes buzzing in my ears, and the relentless Pemberton sun beating down on me. Again, I salute the farmers. We are lucky to live among them, now more than ever.