A couple of days ago, Joel asked me if I wanted to join him to meet up with his friend Joshua for dinner in Manhattan.
“He says he has lots of farm fresh vegetables at his apartment and he’s going to make stew. Want to come?”
Twist my arm!!!! ;)
This afternoon before we headed into the city, I said, “What should we bring over to your friend’s house? Crackers and hummus or something?”
Joel: “I don’t think that’s a good idea. Read this.”
Me: “Haha! YESSSSSS. I already like this guy.”
So we stopped at the store to see what we could grab to bring over, unpackaged. It was actually quite a challenge – not because we couldn’t find anything at all that was unpackaged, but because some of the things we really wanted to bring – berries, etc – were in plastic boxes.
We settled on 2 avocados, a lemon, a lime and a cantaloupe. Such a random assortment to show up at someone’s apartment with, but we felt very pleased that we brought over NO extra packaging or bags (and removed the stickers from the produce before entering the building). Ideally, I think, in Joshua’s world, the produce would have no stickers because it would be from the farmer’s market or CSA, but hey. Progress, right!?
Joshua posted in April 2015 about starting to experiment with not buying ANY of his food packaged (this includes rubber bands around vegetables!) in order to truly change his behaviors that have an impact on the environment – and he’s stuck with it ever since.
He barely generates any trash or recycling, aside from any bags or boxes that come along with his CSA farm share food – if he does get any bags, he keeps them and re-uses them for a long time. He said it generally takes him many months to actually fill up a tiny bag of trash. Check this video out to see what I mean.
For snacks before dinner, instead of crackers and hummus, we had cherry tomatoes wrapped in purple basil.
For our dinner, he had just picked up his latest batch of CSA farm share vegetables, so he made a salad, and his famous stew which he makes for all of his guests.
It was awesome to watch him use almost EVERY tiny little bit of each veggie, only composting what absolutely had to be discarded.
For the stew, he used lots of leafy green chard, onion, eggplant, celery, lemon (the whole lemon chopped up, peel and all!) and more…and he added green split peas and nutritional yeast (both of which he bought in bulk using bags he already had).
Here’s a video of Joshua making his famous stew, along with a list of everything he put in it that day. It’s different every day!!
Look at all that farm fresh colorful beauty!!! I can’t even imagine how many nutrients he must be getting on a daily basis.
This meal definitely made me think about my packaging consumption, and helped me get even closer to my goal of connecting more with the Earth. Isn’t it cool how when you really open up to something, opportunities to do it start showing up?
He made the stew in a pressure cooker, and it only had to cook for 5 minutes! I’ve never even used a pressure cooker before, but now it’s on my goal list to get one.
Here’s what the final stew looked like:
It was so good. My cells felt like they were being refueled.
Joshua’s zero-packaging experiment has now become a lifestyle. He doesn’t feel deprived of packaged foods, instead, he feels more empowered and creative with his cooking – and he’s eating a TON of different vegetables all the time.
I don’t think I’m going totally package-free anytime soon, but this definitely had an impact on me, and inspired me to take on a little bit of a challenge for myself – which I think is going to be a particularly interesting experiment. I’ll share about it more on the blog tomorrow.
What do you think? How you could reduce your packaging consumption? What’s the first thing that comes to mind?
I don’t think I’ll ever look at the produce aisle the same way again!
Goodnight sweet onions,