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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

When I am in the big city of Querétaro, and stop in the Peace Corps office, the first thing I do is head to the metal mailbox and frantically check for letters and care packages. I often leave empty-handed cursing my family and friends and crossing some names off of the guest list for my self-thrown welcome home party. So this week, I walked into the Volunteer Lounge reminding myself not to confuse the usual stack of bank notices for handwritten greetings from the homeland. But, my stubborn hope glanced over to the mailbox, and spotted a box jutting out. Exhilaration peaked.  Dropping everything, I ran over to find that a high school in Missouri sent me a care package. I ripped open the box to find Dove dark chocolates, Burt’s Bees face wash, Kashi cereal, granola bites. Heaven. It didn’t take long for the other Peace Corps volunteers to surround me, ready to pounce on the coveted American goods. It’s an unwritten rule to share, so I did. Begrudgingly.

While contently snacking on my salvaged personal stock of creamy, rich, decadent dark chocolate, I began to read the letter from the teacher, a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who served in Honduras.  One paragraph in, and I found her words touching my soul – almost as much as the chocolate. It is true that there is no bond like that between Peace Corps volunteers; it is a bond of frustration, hope, mishaps, and adventure. I think it might even beat that fraternity bond those bros brag about. This girl got me, and we had only met one time before in the lovely St. Louis, Missouri when I was in the middle of my Peace Corps application process and asking her just what the hell the Peace Corps was about. Life is beautiful sometimes.

Here are some points we both agreed upon…

The SHOW: I live in small community of about 2,000 people so more often than not, the people I work with are the people I see at the taco stand, at the flower shop, at the market, in the plaza, etc. For that reason it is tricky to go to roll out of bed to buy some fresh mangoes and not have at least 5 people take note that you have not yet brushed either your teeth or your hair. So, us Peace Corps volunteers often need some alone time, free of worry about the show us gringos are putting on for the Mexicans or the host country. This, inevitably, brings on the guilt.

The GUILT: Combine a long day of speaking in language that is not your own, being culturally sensitive, and trying to follow plans that change upon the hour, and you too would find it is necessary to sneak into the house and read a book in English alone. While you may finally have your coveted alone time, the words on the page of your book cannot and will not diffuse the nagging in your mind to go out to the plaza, meet up with some friends in town, or go to that carne asada. You should be integrating into your community!  You are a bad Peace Corps volunteer, just awful, I mean really.

The ISOLATION: Since you have been indulging yourself in some alone time, you feel a bit disconnected from your town. Now you are having a bad day, and all you want to do is call someone from home. There have been times when I have done this, to get it out, to vent a bit. After about five minutes, I realize that the person on the other side of the phone line has no idea what I am talking about. The trials and errors of Peace Corps are hard enough for me to explain to myself, how am I going to explain rural Mexico to my friend working on the 23rd floor of a building in Midtown Manhattan.

The 2 LIVES: This gap in personal understanding between myself and friends and family leads to the panic that I am living in a completely different world, and life at home is moving on without me. Which life is the real one? – my Mexican life? my American life? Can they be combined? Who am I and what the hell am I doing with my life?

The MOOD SWINGS: That same day that you may be having a nervous breakdown about your personal direction and the person you have become/are, may be the same day that you have the best moments of your Peace Corps service. It has happened before that I am on the brink of tears at 9:00 AM, and by 5 PM I could not imagine my life if I did not have this experience in Mexico. The women in the Mexican campo can change your attitude with some homemade tortillas, and an hour chatting about their gardens and what they harvested to cook today’s comida.

Now you can see why us Peace Corps volunteers really, really love the care packages and the words of inspiration from home. I send a big thank you to the students of Maplewood Richmond Heights High School in Missouri and all my friends and family for taking the time to think of me, write me beautiful cards, send me Orion magazines, Thai noodles, and all the other reminders of home.

the twigster,

Josephine

PS: If you have friends or family in the Peace Corps, send them a letter or a care package. I promise you, it will make their month. I know this one did.

PPS: I connected with this high school through the Peace Corps World Wise Schools.

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Good Day in the Peace Corps: Working with students at a local high school on a compost pile

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Good Day in the Peace Corps: Seeing the growth in a nopal garden

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I am working with a nonprofit in Mexico that is joined with the Mexican government, and then joined with the DIF of Huimilpan. Complicated for me to understand, I can imagine how you feel. Anyway we are working on a 10-month project to implement 160 family gardens in the communities of Huimilpan. In order to kick start this whole project, the organization, na ya’ax, held a training/application weekend, during which, a group of 50 of us learned about biointensive gardening, composting, and the social impacts of this type of work. Everyday, we completed a test in order for the organization to weed out potential applicants in search of the elected trainers for each municipality.

With all that out of the way, now we are in the process of getting out to the communities, explaining the benefits of the family garden, and signing up interested campesinos. Presenting the idea and the project to community members is admittedly a challenge. However my passion and faith in people regaining ownership and the right to produce their own food is my driving force. You see, in these smaller towns, they only have access to the small “corner store.” And what is in these corner stores? Of course all types of soft drinks, potato chips, cookies – everything that has expiration dates at least 5 years into the future. Much like the food deserts of the US.

No, there are not any fresh veggies. In order to get vegetables, the women have to walk into Huimilpan, the municipality’s center, take a taxi, or their own car if they have one. Unfortunately, you can’t stock up on veggies, they spoil. So these communities, most of which have moderate or high levels of marginalization, don’t view many benefits in buying vegetables. They view it as a waste of time, a waste of money. From their perspectives, I’d agree, but there is hope in this initiative. The motive of this project is to make the vegetables accessible to the community members. So accessible, that they would only need to step out to their patio for some fresh cilantro and tomatoes right off the vine to make their salsa.

Each house would have their own vegetable beds, with compost to provide the nutrient-rich soil for these beds. The community members will receive free training, and free seeds to get them started. The community members will be encouraged to look around for available resources in order to start the garden. There will be not be any input costs other than open-mindedness, creativity, and getting their hands dirty. At the end of the day, they will have an array of fresh, organic vegetables, grown without the use of pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and black water.

If only it was that easy. There are many factors that can affect the success of this project. Such factors as serious as a lack of water to water the gardens, a lack of the green materials needed to start compost (hopefully the approaching rainy season can help with this), and most importantly, a lack of morale and buy-in. The Mexican government itself will admit that it has played a role in making the people accustomed to putting their hands out, waiting for help, waiting for money. For example, the DIF is also starting a program, Bécate,  in which the people will receive training for free on such topics as carpentry and baking. Great deal, huh, free classes? It gets better, they people get paid to attend the classes.

So when I come along and say, “we are going to start family gardens!” The first question I am asked is, “Well, what do we get out of it?” My response of training, seeds, knowledge, empowerment and fresh vegetables usually doesn’t elicit an enthused reaction. Some people will flat out just leave the meeting upon hearing that news. But those who remain, yes those who remain until the very end, signing their names on the attendance sheet, asking me questions, yes those are the hope. Those are the ones who will begin to change their fellow community members’ opinions about the benefits of the family garden, those are the ones who will feed their children a snack of celery rather than papas fritas. Those are the ones that I will be holding onto.

the twigster,

Josephine

PS: Check out my rant about nutrition in Mexico.

The Start of Compost in Capula. We asked a local flower shop for the scraps they didn't want in order to provide the needed "green material."

The Start of Compost in Capula. We asked a local flower shop for the scraps they didn’t want in order to provide the needed “green material.”

A Sunset Caught on the Way Back from a Meeting in a Community

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There is only so much reading and learning about the sustainable food movement you can do before you start growing your own vegetables and begin to break reliance on others for personal nutrition. I’ve wwoofed working on organic farms in upstate New York and New Orleans, I’ve attended courses about the permaculture and biointensive farming methods, and have a mind satiated with information. But what purpose does information serve if you don’t put it to use? Now it is time for me to get my hands dirty, get some seeds germinating, and have a patch of land that I can call my own and care for.

Due to a lack of literal land, my roof in my Mexican home has always been the place I go to find some silence, and roast in the hot sun. And now, my roof will also be the place I can find some fresh arugula and comforting greenery in this desert landscape. The roof allows my veggies to receive the recommended dosage of 5 to 8 hours of sun daily, and I won’t have to travel too far to give the garden the daily care it needs. The idea to start my own rooftop garden has been taking root for the past few months, so I was constantly thinking of ways I can make it work with the available resources. After I got my worm compost started, my next goal became to germinate seeds.

Rather than buying anything, I looked for things around the house to reuse as small planting boxes. I began to set aside plastic cookie trays and take-out containers, milk cartons, and even toilet paper rolls. I also began to collect organic seeds, harvested from the local environment from women in the communities and local Mexican organizations dedicated to the sustainable food movement, such as CIASPE and na ya’ax. Because these seeds are local, they have evolved to be better adapted to the environment here in Querétaro. One of the many benefits to seed diversity.

In addition to the start of becoming autonomous in my alimentation, I am also beginning my march in the Organic Food Revolution. A Revolution dedicated to helping rejuvenate the land we have stripped, and empowering people once again to grow their own food and having the right to a healthy, chemical-free diet. A Revolution that I can support and truly believe in.

the twigster,

Josephine

PS: The rooftop garden will enable me to serve as an example and share the information you only find by doing. I’m working with community members of Huimilpan to start their own gardens, grow their own food, eat healthier, and save money in the process.

PPS: Happy Earth Day!

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Rooftop Garden

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So I never had seemed to get around to finding an efficient way to top off the worm compost buckets. The plastic lid didn’t let it breathe, hard mesh is not easy to work with, and I ran out of creative alternatives. Since the lid was on and off every other evening (an experiment of sorts), it didn’t take long for those pesky little fruit flies to arrive, much to my annoyance.

Now each time I added more veggie scraps to the compost, I had to slowly lift the lid and prep myself to be swarmed by the fruit flies. I read about putting some wine in a jar to lure the fruit flies into a drunken death. I tried that. Fail. I read about offering the frit flies some apple cider vinegar as well. I tried that. Fail. So, on one windy day, I decided to bring the fruit flies onto the roof and wait for the swift desert wind to carry them away.

They decided to just go ahead and hunker down in the buckets instead. They were cozy. They had found a new home, and they liked it. One week led to another, and the fruit fries remained banished to the roof. I bought some soft mesh to top off the buckets, but if I added that now, wouldn’t I just be encapsulating the already large population of fruit flies into the bucket? What to do, what to do? I began to pack for my week of training in Querétaro, and hoped that some of the other Environmental Education volunteers would have some ideas.

the twigster,

Josephine

PS: Check out the other posts that brought me to this point. Worm Compost: Part IWorm Compost Part II.

PPS: I’m not giving up! I’m just experimenting, finding what works, what doesn’t.

Worm Compost

A potential new plan in the works: The women in the community of Capula have these fully-functional worm compost systems in large plastic boxes, and I just purchased one to see where it leads me. More surface area = better aeration?

Worm Juice Collection

They put the worm compost box on a slant to collect the worm juice that pools on the lid.

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When I first arrived at the Cultural Center at Rincón, the first thing that caught my eye was this ghost of a greenhouse in the Center’s garden area. It seemed as though it was just waiting for someone to come and revitalize it, love it, and fill it with all sorts of greens. Naturally, I thought this person was yours truly. I couldn’t get this greenhouse out of my mind for the following weeks. How perfect, I thought, I can work with the older people of the cultural center to plant and care for the greenhouse while providing them with a fun outdoor activity, while also providing the Center’s kitchen with fresh and organic veggies. Peace Corps project heaven!

Greenhouse

So I started asking around. Why was the greenhouse abandoned? Why was the plastic cover all ripped up? What was the story of this greenhouse? In order to learn more about the greenhouse and the community of Rincón, I started to volunteer at the Center every Tuesday, cooking with the women and talking with the abuelitos. While cutting up some nopales, I started to learn more and more. The greenhouse had been an initiative of the DIF a few months back. They built the greenhouse with the same intention that I would have, to supply fresh veggies to the Center while cutting some costs since they provide comida for about 50+ people twice a week.

The reason it was abandoned. Well, the young kids of the community destroyed the greenhouse, not once, but twice. Disheartened, the DIF decided to give up on the project. It wasn’t going to get anywhere, they decided. I thought differently, I decided that I would build my way up to the greenhouse. First, I would gain the trust of the abuelitos, next I would start a small herb garden with them, and finally, if all went well, we would get started on the greenhouse. Tired of looking at the waste strewn across the greenhouse’s soil, and thinking of all the chemicals leaking into the sustainer of future organic veggies, my first order of business was to clean up the greenhouse, to send a message that this greenhouse was ready, bueno, or about to be.

The Clean-up

The greenhouse was littered with plastic bottles because once the project was abandoned; the Center began to store the plastic bottles it collected for resale in the greenhouse. Literally hundreds of plastic bottles littered the floor. And so, I got to work. Bottle after bottle was disentwined from the captive roots of the grass, and placed in a bag, ready to be reused and recycled. With the clean-up out of the way, I asked the Director of the Center to follow-up with the collection of the bottles, so they wouldn’t continue to decorate the fence line of the greenhouse.

After

As it sometimes goes with Peace Corps service I was pulled in a million different directions for a few weeks after the big greenhouse clean-up and was unable to work at the Center for two Tuesdays in a row. This past Tuesday, finally, I had arranged my schedule to get back to the Center with the hopes of talking to the abuelitos about the following week’s workshop to plants some seeds so the herb garden would be ready for the approaching spring. Cilantro, basil, rosemary, chamomile maybe even some swiss chard and other lettuces. All the seeds were collected and ready to go. I had even attended a urban gardening course this past Saturday to brush up on some planting details.

Like every Tuesday, I rolled up to the Center on my bicycle, excited and ready to get the day started. However instead of finding the “after” picture of the greenhouse, I found the same greenhouse that I had first met a few months back – a sad greenhouse with plastic bottles strewn all over the floor. Since one cannot often control first reactions, a hot anger rushed up through my entire body. I felt my muscles tense up, and in order to expel the negative energy from my body, my mind kept pressuring me to let it all out and just scream. Scream because I had already invested time and energy into planning this project. Scream because sometimes with every step forward in Peace Corps service, I later find myself two steps back. Scream because sometimes the bad intentions can and do defeat those that are good. A few minutes of pacing later, I had calmed down, and went into the kitchen to forget about the greenhouse for a little and begin to prepare the day’s meal…

Once more, an abandoned greenhouse.

the twigster,

Josephine

PS: Sometimes the bad moments make the good moments in Mexico that much richer.

 

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For the past two weeks my home worm compost system has been up and running, and I couldn’t be happier with the results from this super simple DIY project. In the post, Worm Compost: Part I, I had all the materials needed for the system, two large paint-bucket type containers, a drill, and worms. To continue, I stacked the bucket with drilled holes (see picture) into the other bucket. Next, I added my worms with a bit of newspaper and cardboard bedding and some fermented sheep manure. Finally, I topped it off with the bucket covers. Now, while cooking, I add my veggie scraps to feed my happy worms. It’s that simple.

Some more tips…

DO take note of your ratio of  “greens” and “browns.” Greens consist of such things as kitchen scraps, coffee grounds, crushed egg shells, plant waste, tea leaves and bags and veggie peels and cores. “Browns” include shredded newspaper, egg cartons and cardboard. You want a pretty even ratio of “greens” and “browns.”  If you see your compost is too watery, add some “browns.”

DO chop up large pieces of fruits and vegetables for faster breakdown. The worms actually eat the bacteria and fungi in decomposing food, so the older the food and the more exposed to air, the faster the worms will get to it.

DO harvest the worm juice at the bottom of the bucket for foliar application. This is the reason for those holes in the stacked bucket! The juice is invaluable as a natural pest repellent and fertilizer. Water down the juice with a 15:1 ratio of water:juice.

DO aerate the compost every few days using a wooden spoon or a stick to turn the materials.

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DON’T add kitchen scraps cooked with oil or with high amounts of salt.

DON’T add meat, dairy products, or highly acidic products. I don’t even like adding orange or lemon peels. Garlic and onions also don’t typically appeal to the worms, and can stink up the containers.

DON’T feed fresh manure to your worms. The heat from uncomposted animal manure can burn the worms. Also, only use manure from vegetarian animals – cows, sheep, rabbits, etc.

Some more facts about the wrigglers…

* Worm compost is very concentrated (1 ton of worm castings is equivalent to 10 tons of animal manure)

* The land that is passed by worms has 5 times more nitrogen, 7 times more potassium, and double the amount of calcium and magnesium.

* The worms can live up to 16 years

* Worms double their population every 40 days

the twigster,

Josephine

PS: In order to limit fruit flies in my worm compost, I dry my banana peels in the sun before adding them to the bin. Fruit flies LOVE to lay their eggs in banana peels. If you’re not living in the desert like this girl, you can also give the peels a quick rinse before adding them to the compost.

Contained Compost System

Worm Juice Flow

Make your holes smaller than I did. I had some worm escapees.

Spot the Worms

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Happy Valentine’s Day! I saw this spiky heart-shaped nopal cactus pad on a hike in San Luis de la Paz, Guanajuato, and couldn’t resist snapping a picture of it to share with you all for Valentine’s Day. Here in Mexico, this day isn’t just for lovers. It is also a day to celebrate friendships, and people in general. No need for a novio or a novia (boyfriend or girlfriend), share some chocolates with a best friend or gift a rose to a complete stranger. Why? Well, because love is in the air…

the twigster,

Josephine

PS: My plans for Valentine’s Day? I will be gifting myself with some freshly baked nutella-filled donuts using this recipe I found yesterday on Foodgawker.com.

PPS: Check out where the twigster was last Valentine’s Day here.

PPS: The nopal cactus is also found in the desert regions of the US. Check out some cacti I came across while traveling in Arizona last year here.

A Prickly Heart.

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Guiltily, I have never had my own compost system. I have always lived in apartments with roommates and family members who were never too keen on the idea. However, now that I have my wonderful apartment in Mexico, one of my first priorities is to get a red-worm compost system started and see how it all works. I live in an apartment in the town center of Huimilpan, so although I escaped the concrete jungle of New York City, I still don’t have a green patch to call my own. And so, with the help of Nicole Salgado, a friend of the Peace Corps here in Mexico, I am constructing a compost system for city/apartment dwellers.

The basic concept is a system of two stacked buckets. The stacked bucket will have holes in the bottom to allow the worm liquid or “worm juice” to escape into the second bucket. This liquid can be used for compost tea or as a natural pest repellent.  The stacked bucket will also house the worms, bedding, and of course the food and resulting worm castings.

Here are the steps I have taken thus far:

1. I purchased two large paint bucket-type containers.

2. I drilled many small holes into one of the buckets

3. I asked a community member for a gift of some worms, which I will receive tomorrow.

The twigster,

Josephine

PS: I will keep posting as more developments arise and I have the finished product. UPDATE Worm Compost: Part II

PPS: Check out this article about Worm Compost on a huge scale in a US airport.

Worm compost bucket with small holes drilled in

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Corn surrounds me. On my walk to work I pass cornfield after cornfield. In my backyard, chickens peck for their snacks in the cornfield. The soothing natural music beckoning me to sit in the fields comes from the rustle of leaves in the cornfield. Corn is life here, and in order for life to continue, the harvest must take place. And so, it is the time of year that house after house is drying cobs in the patio, on the roof, or right in the field. There is corn of every color, – purple, red, orange, yellow, black – shape and size. The true meaning of Huimilpan, “the place of the biggest cornfields,” is truly being realized.

the twigster,

Josephine

PS: I recently learned that “forty percent of the calories a Mexican eats a day comes directly from corn, most in the form of tortillas” (Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma). I can’t help but think of this when my host mom places a stack of steaming tortillas on the table for comida.

As Far As the Eye Can See

Corn Galore

Elote - Grilled over a wood stove and topped with lime and chili

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In Manhattan, you are able to find all kinds of fruits, vegetables, and meat – organic, semi-organic, biodynamic, processed, injected with hormones – you name it, you got it. There are options, endless options that cater to the environmentalists, semi-environmentalists, the green-washed and those looking for the best deal. With all these options, I naturally grew to be spoiled. I became accustomed to pushing my squeaking shopping cart amidst the old ladies at the market, right into the organic produce aisle. “Oh, they have organic apples this week, well hold on, before I can pick these apples, let me see where they are sourced from – from New York.  Local and organic. Check. Check.”

Even better, when I was working on Threshold Farm, one of my beloved family members would drive up to the Hudson Valley to pick me up and drag me back to the concrete jungle periodically. Whenever they showed up to the farm, donning business suits or designer flats in typical NYC fashion, I seized the opportunity to load up on fresh, organic, biodynamic, grown-with-love veggies that I had picked that same morning. Consciously choosing my food was easy, and accessible – a part of the culture, even a part of the latest fashion. Boy was I thrown for a loop when control was taken away, options diminished and I found myself in a food desert.

During my Peace Corps training I lived with a host family in the Historical Center of Querétaro in México. The Peace Corps contract with the host families puts forth that the families provide trainees with all meals. Now you have a general discussion when you first meet the host families about your diet preferences, but like I said, this is when you first meet the families – your first day off the plane from the US. You can imagine that you don’t want to start listing all these intricacies in your diet that you want realized, and be that person. Tack on your lack of Spanish, your anxiety, and your desperate desire for integration. Yea, that conversation didn’t even have a glimmer of hope of going far for any of us trainees.

And so, for three months you are to eat whatever is put it in front you. Meat, tortillas, some more meat, beans, and quesadillas of course. Then you got your occasional dinner of pig skin in chili. Oh, and you can forget about being a vegetarian here, or a once in a blue moon meat eater as I was. Meat is the norm, the rule, the option. Anything green on your plate, you meet with overwhelming delight. You exclaim in glee when presented with a plateful of shredded Iceberg-type lettuce, that a few months before, you quickly would have pushed aside. The watery lettuce is such a rarity that it is worth the risk of intestinal trouble later on in the evening. Thus, as three months of training quickly slipped away, I went from an occasional, let me treat myself to an organic grass-fed burger girl, to a full-fledged carnivore. To add insult to injury, I had no idea where my meat was coming from.

Now, Mexicans also have a love affair with sugar. When I first noticed the poor quality of many Mexicans’ teeth, I thought it was the water. As a result, I decided, obsessively, that I was only going to rinse my mouth with bottled water when brushing my teeth, an expensive endeavor, but for someone fanatical about dental hygiene, totally worth it. A few more days of observations brought me to conclude that I was throwing money down the sink. It was obvious that Mexicans’ overwhelming consumption of sugar – snacks and soda – was to blame for the absence of any Orbit smiles.  Packaged, processed snacks of the likes of Ding-Dongs, Twinkies, are consumed without an afterthought. Then come the chips of every size, shape, and artificial flavor. And what do we have to wash it all down? Not my teeth brushing bottled water. No, it’s Coca-Cola, and you better believe it’s on the table with breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

At first, I got suckered into the snacking world that is Mexico. I ate my fair share of cookies and even chips. I’m going to blame it on the need for integration and the fear of turning down food for the concern of being rude. It’s more probable that it’s just plain hard to resist these snacks sometimes, especially when everyone around you is eating them and your choices are chips or a banana (keep in mind that you probably had a banana every day that week). Luckily my short-lived snacking habit was easier to kick than the meat-eating custom. I just took to carrying a banana with me so I always have the option to say, thank you, but I have this great banana. Now the chips aren’t even an option. Hey, it works.

Surely, you must be thinking, this diet has to have an affect on Mexicans’ health and lifestyle. Indeed, it does. For starters, Mexico has beaten the US for the grand title of the world’s fattest country.  Who ever thought that was possible? This isn’t my point though. My point here is, God, how easy it is to be a conscious food consumer when you have options! I can laugh at myself with how spoiled I was in Manhattan – where there is more education and more emphasis placed on a healthy diet. Since I have arrived in Mexico for my Peace Corps service, consciously choosing my food has been far from easy. I have met roadblock after roadblock, and have been feeling like I have been the worst environmentally as I ever have been in my life.

Sustainable food production and consumption, along with the promotion of a healthy diet is my passion, and now my passion has been put to the test.  I need to find a way to stick to my morals and convictions, while learning about and navigating the hardships people face to do the same when the options just don’t exist. During the next few months, as I become more adjusted to Huimilpan, my home for the next few years, I hope to start unraveling the many challenges of maintaining a healthy diet while living in rural Mexico. Inspiration has hit as well. I’ve got a suspicion that  my project here will focus on providing healthier options to the Mexicans that are sure to become my friends, my peers, and my co-workers. In the meantime, I will continue to turn down the offer of Coca-Cola to wash down my eggs and toast.

* This post is based on my own observations of food consumption in Mexico. Mexico is a huge country, and I’m sure there are many different eating habits that exist within it. Please don’t take my experience as a generalization of Mexico.

the twigster,

Josephine

PS: I hope you all had a great Turkey Day! I was thinking of the Macy’s Day Parade while making goody bags to pass out to the children of Huimilpan this Christmas season. Hopefully this post won’t make you feel too guilty about how much you ate yesterday.

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