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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Keeping it Organic

May 8-14, 2010
Wanaka, NZ
I like to eat healthy. I like to buy organic foods. I didn’t realize that my habits were so primitive compared to my next family of five! There is something to be said for incorporating organics, sustainable methods, and eco-conscious products into your life ranging from vegetables, fruit, toothpaste, meat, hand & face lotion, towels and clothes... Admittedly, those latter few are not regularly part of my greenie tree-hugging lifestyle, but I’m not opposed. Naturally this family had a compost pile, actually multiple composts all in different stages, a worm farm for the garden and compost piles, 50 or so odd sheep, 2 cows, a dog, couple rogue cats, vegetable gardens galore, fruit trees recently planted, and an overall goal of self-sufficiency. In addition, in an effort to encourage organic product availability the family started a small “store” out of their garage, open one day per week, delivering and selling organic products to their community. Good people with good goals in life.

Let’s talk about food… This family is seriously all about food, much of it coming out of the garden! Sometimes it felt like we never left the kitchen or the dining room table! Every member of the family took a turn at cooking dinner at least one night per week, which included the 14 year old boy Connor, the 11 year old boy Liam, and the 7 year old girl Cara. *Everyone* cooked one night per week! The 11 and 7 year olds were assisted in the kitchen by a parent on their nights, while the 14 year old was nearly on his own. Only the wwoofers were excepted, frankly because the family just wasn’t sure about the culinary skills of their random international guests. Well, knowing my mastery in the kitchen (ahem!), I recruited Cara for a night of gastronomic delight. After dazzling the family with dinner and two desserts, Cara & I were huge hits, and my recipes were written into their recipe book. Bam!

During my weeklong stay there was also some work involved other than eating and cooking… Specifically my project involved A LOT of weeding in the organic vegetable garden, as well as preparing, planting and netting a new ½ mile long organic garden. There was quite a bit of other random yard work, garage work, playing with the animals and kids, and learning new hiphop dance moves from Liam too. I shared a bedroom with Cara, which was a fun experience considering I’ve never had a little sister, nor shared a room since my days at UF! Overall, living with a New Zealand family with children was an experience that I had hoped to have, and was so grateful for my 6 days. Watching the interaction of Kiwi Kids and parents was entertaining, exhausting, and so much fun! The kids picked on me for my accent as I tried to ‘speak kiwi’ while teaching me dance moves and homework. Overall this family created an environment which encouraged one other to learn and open their minds to the world through wwoofers, while fostering an exchange of ideas and a true desire for mutual learning.

Gimme organic! Jessie

Lake Wanaka

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