I don’t know if I’ve stated this explicitly, but if you happen to read any of the past 10 blog posts here you can probably tell I’m a little obsessed with sustainability. Actually, it’s a shared interest in sustainability that drew me to PTYD- I met one of the owners, Heather, volunteering at a Kiss the Ground party where we both served snacks. Sustainability has been one of the big themes in my life this year, and my personal definition of it has shifted and broadened in such a way that I’m starting to think: where is this going & could it be useful to somebody? So here goes! I’m going to start at the beginning.
Growing up in Austin my concept of sustainability was formed by my mom’s green thumb, and watching Fern Gully and putting band aids on playground trees with broken branches. Later, in high school, I had a friend who funneled all his teen angst into a fervor for recycling. Due to his predilection for spontaneously sorting thru campus trash cans he always carried several pairs of latex gloves in his pocket. “Are you gonna recycle that?” He’d blurt as he watched me swirl the dregs of a soda. I watched him dig both hands in up to his armpits, simultaneously impressed that he could be so passionate about any one thing, and sad for what was clearly a never ending battle.
When I was 23 I decided to retreat from society, live in a tent, and work on an organic vegetable farm. I wanted to turn compost, organic, and local from ideas into something more tangible. While I learned a lot while literally living closer to the earth, there continued to be a disconnect between my daily life and my small efforts to protect the environment. When I returned to living indoors two years later I continued recycling, composting, buying second hand clothes etc, but these efforts felt menial and my pessimism just grew. I developed a scab where sustainability was concerned and committed myself to compartmentalizing.
About 2 years ago I took a trip to Key West with my boyfriend and his family. While there we visited the Sea Turtle Museum. This is not a museum at all- it’s a small turtle refuge designed to imprint how critical reducing plastic waste is on unsuspecting tourists. There I watched maimed turtles swim awkward circles while an employee recited stories of how they were rescued from the plastic they'd gotten tangled in or swallowed because it resembled jellyfish. It was very depressing, and very effective. Now I find myself digging thru friends recycling and collecting up plastic wrappers and bags to drop off at the grocery store.
Last year I went to health coaching school, and made a new friend who introduced me to Kiss the Ground, regenerative farming, and eventually Heather and Faiez of PTYD. Throughout year the idea of sustainability has been morphing into something different, something that's making me feel more hopeful… more on that next week.
Naomi Perryman is a Personal Chef and Health Coach in Austin, TX. She’s learned a lot over the years from people & places including The Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts (Vegan & Macrobiotic cooking school), The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (holistic health coaching), and Hands of the Earth Farm. Like the folks at Prep to Your Door, she believes that connecting busy people with local food unlocks the power of whole foods to help us feel better, have more energy, and engage more deeply with our lives and the larger world around us.