Creatives at Home: Finding purpose (and community) through locally-sourced food prep

A few weeks ago, a Facebook friend wondered where people were in their degree of isolation. On the scale of 1-5, one being "living normal" and five being "full lockdown." I was about 4.5. That was March 20.

I had gone to a few grocery stores and left traumatized. Not because the aisles were empty. Some were. But because of the overly present look of shock on everyone’s faces. It felt off.

That day I made a pact to avoid places like Meijer or Fresh Market where the air seemed thick with fear and panic. I needed to make a food and provisions plan quickly as my partner Mike and I hadn’t been stockpiling for the weeks of social distancing ahead of us.

Then someone else posted about ordering products directly from local farmers for pickup at Fulton Street Farmer’s Market. Yes, support local… yet I was too cautious to go to the Farmer’s Market. 

Another friend posted a photo of beautiful greens, eggs, and mushrooms from West Michigan Farmlink, an online marketplace of local farmers. This spoke to me. I can place my order online, pick up my goods at the designated time, and leave the bags in the car for three days based on the time the coronavirus lives on surfaces. 

It’s been just a few weeks and I’ve enjoyed reconnecting with Farmlink founder Jerry Adams, a friend with whom I’d lost track while too busy with ballet rehearsals, water polo practices, and Zumba at the Y. We occasionally run into other people we know picking up their orders. Some of us are wearing masks. All of us are standing a safe distance apart. 

Life feels different; we can’t be closer than 6 feet, but in some ways, it seems like we are connecting even more. Isn’t that what they say — food brings people together? I’m also witnessing more sharing of recipes, more cooking together on Zoom, and more purpose in the kitchen. 

The week or two before our state’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order, I ordered food storage containers to organize my smoothie pantry. I poured protein, maca, lucuma powders, hemp, and chia seeds into quart and half quart containers. I felt quite accomplished armed with my label maker. I am positive I make better-tasting smoothies now that I can find all my ingredients. This small act of organization helped ease my morning routine.

To ease other meals, Mike and I renewed the Purple Carrot subscription we had briefly paused several weeks earlier. We had given it up to try something new, or shop and meal plan for ourselves, although it seems like we can hardly remember anything before the pandemic. I needed sanity in the kitchen and three fewer meals a week to worry about. Our ad hoc kitchen life was in a groove with fresh produce coming in, smoothies being blended, and vegan meals planned.

Honestly, I enjoy having someone cook for me and miss sitting at restaurants. While we try supporting local restaurants a couple of times a week, I’m a tad nervous about the human points of contact. I know many are doing a great job showing us their safe processes. But still...

I welcome this new intentional and thoughtful approach to feeding ourselves. I think twice about making quick trips to the grocery store to grab that one ingredient. Mike and I slow down to prepare meals because an impromptu trip to a restaurant isn't possible. In addition to our meal delivery subscription, I like connecting with local businesses, restaurants, and growers because maybe we all get back on our feet by thinking and acting locally. While the urgent need to shelter-in-place and create new habits are temporary, wouldn't we want to keep some of these routines moving forward? Smoothie after smoothie, meal after meal, day after day, we enjoy local foods via Farmlink, easy meal preps with Purple Carrot and occasional orders from our local favorites. On a 1-5 scale of how grateful and bountiful we are? We’re a full-on 5. 

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Yolanda is a designer and artist from Grand Rapids, Michigan. She and her partner, Mike Gorman own Mr & Mrs, a graphic design and branding agency for over 8 years. Her focus is on creative art direction, illustration, and photography. Yolanda tells stories with pictures using every available medium. She has worked as an illustrator, graphic designer, and photographer for over 20 years. 

Follow Yolanda on Instagram @yodraws

Art
1-2 illustrations. Illustrated self-portrait.
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