in this election year, there are talks of "mandates" and unfunded mandates" - rules and laws that have been implemented on a state government level that locals MUST follow - but the state provides no help in funding for them.
Well, on a truly local level, (say, in a household), there are plenty of unfunded mandates…and depending on your socioeconomic strata, those can be anything from a new SubZero wine chiller to a hotdog for your kid's dinner. no judgement. truly. we all have a different reality, and that's no reason to be ashamed or embarrassed. neither is it an excuse not to help. from either end of the spectrum.
In my mind, the answers are quite simple, and quite easily achieved. inexpensively and without hootananny. as long as everyone along the chain of helping is truly on board for the right reasons, and not for a public accolade or some sort of medal.
In Jeopardy format, the answer is this: take a vacant building in an urban area that has a high density of underfunded household mandates (mandates such as feeding children healthy food). Turn that vacant building into a teaching kitchen where mothers, daughters, men, women, whoevah can come and learn how to cook a healthy & nutritious & inexpensive recipe. Then leave with those ingredients in a nice shopping bag. Not a box. (do you leave your grocery store with a box? how easy is that to carry when you have a toddler and are really pregnant, for example?) The kitchen would be outfitted with typical household appliances…stoves and ovens and refrigerators that most households would have (except all burners would work).
I became inspired by the cookbook, and story behind the cookbook, Good And Cheap - how to eat well on $4 a day." by Leeanne Brown. This hyperlink takes you to her website. She is an amazing person. I heard her interview on NPR and had to own the cookbook. The average Food Stamp/SNAP recipient gets $29/week. (Try that budget on if you want to scream unfunded mandates. But it is what it is.) For every cookbook purchased, if you contact her, she will donate a case of them to a local Food Pantry. I had mine sent to the Salvation Army Emergency Services.
And this is where it gets so tasty. I started wondering if people would read and use the cookbooks. and i wondered if there were people who wanted to but couldn't learn by reading - they needed to be shown.
I want to have cooking workshops in that no longer vacant building. the food workshops would use her cookbook as a basis for the recipes taught.
See, I came into some knowledge at a chance meeting at my hairdresser recently. My original plan was for an indoor farm, if you will, a community-worked garden that would supply food for the workshops, and act as a co-op of sorts. During this chance conversation, plus another random brain-dropping that came my way the day before, it is obvious that there isn't a problem of food shortage - it's a distribution issue. there is at least one local farm that will load your car with whatever you need - but you need to get there to receive it. The underfunded mandate homes usually travel by public transportation, making that unavailable.
So the vision shifts. Not a failure of the vision - it is working perfectly and exactly the way it needs to in order to serve the people it was intended to in the way they need the service. (it would be as ludicrous as giving canned goods to a homeless person - i mean how do you seriously think they will open the can and cook the contents?) so the underfunded mandate households may love fresh veggies, just like you and I, but the SNAP budget doesn't allow for much of it, and there is no transportation to the farm that's giving it away. Problem easily solved if you step back and soften your eyes and not have an agenda to tick boxes off from.
I'm sorry of this sounds political. it is absolutely not. in fact, all of this is absolutely best done through private sector folks…through grants and good people…through the wallets of good people with great hearts and many funded mandates already in their households.
My vision is clear for this… the core principals, and the program offerings. My head is finally in a place where i can allow for help and listen for great good suggestions and knowledge, and to work as a team. my life is in a place where i have more of a depth of understanding. i am crafting my day-to-day to allow for the time for the vision to explode into reality.
i don't have much time to make this happen. and i feel like it will be my last Big Thing. maybe not, but we'll see. it will succeed, through me or through my original vision. it absolutely has to. It is alive.
If it's got to be, then it's up to me. I'm on a quest to do my best.
(That's a quote from Iannuzzo's Black Belt Academy. I stole it here.)
In Jeopardy format, the question is: What is my legacy to be? What is my passion to leave behind?