Saturday, October 17, 2009

My paid "job" on Thursday

Last time I was at WIC, I got a phone number to call. It was called the Land Stewardship Project. They had a meeting on Thursday night. Ram watched the Lambs while I went to the meeting. I had to hurry home so he could go to a Ladies Aid meeting. When I told the Lambs that I was going, Lamb 1 said "Mamas don't go to meetings, just Papas!"
I really didn't know what to expect out of this meeting. They served chicken noodle soup and some really good bread to us from a cafe about 45 minutes away. There was plenty so I brought a bowl home for Ram. I was paid $15 plus $5 to spend in the local health food store. I shopped at this health food store once about 5 years ago. The leader said they have beans really really cheap so I'll probably go spend my $5 there on dried beans.
There were 4 of us moms plus 2 of the workers leading the program. They asked a bunch of questions about where we buy our food, what kind of food we buy, etc. The participants were interesting. 1-had a baby who she feeds organic Gerber type baby food, 2-a divorced mother with a 30 year old still at home, seemed very poor from her comments, both her son and herself kind of fend for themselves, 3-a mother with two children who runs a daycare out of her home. She said she is required to measure out the children's food so they eat very healthy for lunch while the daycare kids are there and she drives 1 1/2 hours to shop at Walmart once a month to get food for all these kids cheaper.
Then there was me-talking about how we eat steel cut oats done in the crockpot overnight, telling that we drive to a farm about 20 miles away to get our eggs when we run out of the ones that WIC provides us, telling how we cook and bake homemade. I didn't quite fit in with the other ones. But I think that I was exactly the kind of person they were looking for at this meeting.
They were kind of secretive about who they were until the end of the meeting because they didn't want to have us answer what we thought they wanted to hear. At the end of the meeting, they revealed that Blue Cross Blue Shield had given them a grant to survey people in the area. The goal is to get people to eat healthier by eating locally grown foods. The idea is that foods grown far away lose some nutritional value by the time they get to this rural area. Plus they wonder how many people in this rural area don't eat enough fresh fruits and veggies because it is a transportation issue-it is 1 1/2 hours to a big grocery store. They also wonder if my generation doesn't know how to have a garden or can or freeze garden produce. I was unique to the participants because we have a small garden (hopefully we can do better next year), our church members give us lots of produce, and we eat fresh when it is available and then eat lots of canned or frozen that I made when it is not.
One of the participants said that the local meat market gets their steaks and good beef from Mexico. I don't know if this is true or just a rumor. But if it is, I'm horrified. We are given lots of meat from our church members. We buy a little meat and most of our hamburger at that local meat market. Here we thought we were helping out a local business and buying local, and we could be buying it from Mexico, not even from another part of the United States! We have been thinking about buying beef from one of the Loopers whose family does that. I guess when we run out of hamburger we'll be making a trip to Iowa!
I did also get some sources for raw milk at this meeting. I'll have to do some more checking but at least I have some names to start. Before this I had no idea where to get raw milk.
It was interesting and fun to get out of the house and do something different. I did give them my e-mail address and I'm going to contact a few friends in the area to get their chance to get paid. But I'm not going to get any more involved. I joked with Ram that I had to "go to work" on Thursday. $20 for an hour's work where I was eating delicious soup while I worked wasn't too bad!

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