Hey guys… KarmaFree Cooking has been getting some exposure on the web.
My friend Silka, from Siembra 3 Vidas CSA Farm is featuring in her blog a series of interviews with the supporters of the CSA project. An interview about me was featured last August 24. I know the text is in Spanish, but I promise to edit this post with the translation into English.
Click here to read the full interview…
Monday, August 24, 2009
For a lot of years now I have been exposed to organic agriculture. Since my days in college in the early 90’s when I had the chance to work on a project to promote the consumption of organic fruits and vegetables in PR. Back then, organic produce was not readily available in supermarkets like today. Also, there wasn’t a consciousness about the damages pesticides and other chemicals in our food stream have on our health.
And given the last 10 years I’ve been exposed to a vegetarian lifestyle and knowing how a healthier lifestyle leads to better health, I wanted to integrate more organic produce into my diet, even if it meant paying a bit more to acquire them.
About 3 years ago I started reading about CSA farms on the internet, where people contributed to their local farmers in exchange for fresh seasonal crops. It sounded very appealing to me how I could contribute to small business owners in my area and at the same time have fresh organic produce readily available. The pictures and stories I read on the internet were fascinating and reeled me into the idea.
Being an entrepreneur myself, I understand it’s my responsibility to contribute and support other small business owners in PR. If I don’t support the small business industry, then who will? I would like to believe this support and contribution will translate into benefits to my own business somehow. That’s the law of karma in action…
2) Do you believe the opportunity to support S3V contributes to your interests in this topic? How?
I believe supporting the local organic agriculture contributes to the collective consciousness of PR, demonstrating the importance of eating more naturally and steering away from chemicals, preservatives, colorings and additives, which produce so many ailments. Lack of knowledge is our own worst enemy… and helping to promote in some way the availability of more natural and organic food sources promotes that eating more healthfully is not necessarily more difficult or inaccessible as people might think. The more we know about where our food comes from, the more awareness we have about taking care of it, not harming it and the benefits it provides us everyday.
3) What other activities you share regarding this same topic?
By being vegetarian and simultaneously developing a love for cooking, I have noticed how people are intrigued and curious about the vegetarian lifestyle. In PR we are not known for a plant or grain-based diet. We have been raised that if you do not have a piece of meat on your plate, you’re not eating at all. But it’s incredible the amount of interest and questions people have when they learn you are vegetarian… people think you only eat salad.
That’s why I decided to share my vegetarian lifestyle and many of the recipes I have developed over the years thru my blog KarmaFree Cooking – to educate my community and the public at large how easy it is to follow a vegetarian lifestyle – that it’s simple, varied and promotes health and well-being. Also, my recipes have been tried and tested on all my non-vegetarian friends, which validates them even more in the eyes of the incredulous. Thanks to the public’s acceptance to KarmaFree Cooking, I also started a Spanish version, KarmaFree Cooking en Español.
Participating in S3V has helped me to have more topics to share in KarmaFree Cooking – letting the PR community know that organic agriculture is alive and well here, challenging me to cook and prepare dishes with seasonal ingredients that possibly I have never cooked with. It’s a challenge when you do not have a large family to cook for every night, but I enjoy it anyhow. If you click on the section From my CSA Box or Desde mi cajita CSA you’ll find a collection of recipes and comments developed based on the contents of my weekly CSA box from S3V.
4) What other benefit you enjoy by being a S3V sponsor? What do you do with the vegetables you receive?
My mom and I belong to a yoga center – Centro Cultural Yoga Devanand in Caparra Terrace – and people in the Center cook daily for all the hatha yoga students, partly to educate them on how delicious and accessible vegetarian cooking is. Weekly, we use the vegetables in the S3V box to prepare lunches and dinners at the Center, specially the great variety of lettuces. The center is managed thanks to the donations and contributions of the hatha yoga students and initiated members. So the S3V box helps us cook more frequently with organic produce than we would be able to without it.
5) Do you have a certain ideal for PR in regards to ecological agriculture/the environment and/or health?
I would like for the PR community to discover the vegetarian lifestyle as one that will bring long-lasting health benefits to our community in general. And if someone is not ready to make the “leap” into a full-fledged vegetarian lifestyle, to at least commit to consuming less animal products, to consume more fruits and vegetables on a regular basis, to consume less refined flours, less products with added chemicals and colorants we can’t even pronounce, to consume less soft-drinks and less alcohol. Doing all of this will most certainly lead to have a healthier and more prosperous life. I am certain of that. To gain understanding that real health does not come from taking pills from a bottle, it comes from prevention – understanding our health comes from what we actually place in our mouths and by making small changes everyday, we can evolve into a more healthful and more harmonious society.
I wish Puerto Ricans would develop a consciousness of the union and dependence we have on nature and that preserving our natural interests is as important as taking care of our own families. We should respect more our trees, our rivers, our beaches, our mountains… we would recycle more and waste less. We should realize when we leave trash on the streets leaves a lot to be desired of and it does not communicate the true quality of people we are.
And even if not a lot of people share this same ideal, we need to start with ourselves and be the example. That if we want our surroundings to be better, we need to set the example and be agents of change. We can’t be complacent and think we can’t have some positive effects in our society, because if we all thought that way, nobody would do anything different. In the words of one of the philosophers of our time, Michael Jackson, “If you want to make a world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change”.
6) What do you do for a living?
Currently I have my own marketing consulting business, helping small and medium-sized companies without a marketing staff with their marketing functions. I also have a small artisanal “gig” selling a few vegetarian goodies and dips – like hummus, veggie dips, tomato sauces for pastas, stewed soy crumbles, cakes, etc.
You can read more about Madelyn and her recipes in KarmaFree Cooking.