|THE NEW HOPE JOURNAL||COMPLETE SITE INDEX HOME|
|Varieties of Vegan Experience|
Sex & the City (and down on the farm)
by Camen Gupta
--New York City
|Lately I find that vegetables are my passion. Shopping for them, reading about them, watching Food Network shows about them, and especially cooking them. But not growing them. It would be a little difficult in my 600 sq. foot Manhattan apartment. Recently I joined a sort of food co-op called a CSA. It stands for Community Supported Agriculture. I now have the opportunity to interact with and support the efforts of a farmer who actually grows the objects of my obsession. My farmer, a woman who runs a farm 120 miles north of Manhattan in the Catskills with her husband, fills up a van with all manner of organically grown herbs, vegetables, and fruit each week for 24 weeks and drops it at one of two designated locations on the Upper East Side. There, a group of volunteers sorts everything out on tables for the lucky recipients to pick up.
A sample of an early weekly summer delivery includes Great Lakes Lettuce, Red Sails Lettuce, Garlic Chives, Chinese Cabbage, Bok Choi, Mizuna, Arugula, Rhubarb, and Sage. Later in the summer the deliveries look more like this: Romano Beans, Summer Onions, Edamame, Slicing Tomatoes, Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes, Lipstick Sweet Peppers, Basil, Beets, Black Bell Eggplant, Oriental Express Eggplant, Peaches, Nectarines, Prune Plums, and Red Clapp Pears. Recently, having been on the waiting list for a CSA in my neighborhood for some time, I eagerly responded to an email calling for volunteers to organize and create a new one.
The first few meetings with the other 7 or 8 volunteers have been exciting and productive. We all took on various roles needed to make such an endeavor work and I ended up as the general coordinator. After the first couple of meetings, we needed to gather again to discuss the progress each of us had made in our various assignments. Excitedly, I sent emails to the members, asking for availability and soon found the small task of coordinating the schedules of 8 busy New Yorkers to be quite a challenge. Suddenly, everyone only had a couple of hours a week to dedicate to this and none of them matched anyone else’s couple of hours. When I tried to find a 30 minute window within the following two weeks, one response was, “I am free next Tuesday from 9 am to 10 am.” “Evenings are best for me,” one woman offered. “I can do a call on Friday night, after I put my daughter to bed…and then not again until Wednesday” another woman volunteered. I myself, had tickets for the just opened, Sex & the City blockbuster Friday night, so nothing doing.
Later, after the movie that night as I sat at a local bar, sipping cocktails with the girls, just like the girls in the movie, conversation turned to food and how I was a vegetarian. Most of the girls and their dates looked inquisitively at me – sort of like they never noticed until that moment that I had two heads. I tried to explain how excited I was about this CSA endeavor, and how great it felt to be making a commitment to the environment and to a real live steward of the earth. Not to mention the benefits gained by knowing exactly where my food comes from and how it was grown. The protests immediately began, “I love steak too much to ever give up meat,” said one of the guys. “What is there to eat when you are a vegetarian?” said another. One of the girls put her arm around me and looked at me lovingly. “This is my friend who doesn’t eat meat”, she says to her new boyfriend. “Isn’t she cute – she listens to NPR too.”
Complete Site Index
copyright 2008 by Larry L. Dill