Monday, March 7, 2016

"This Year for Lent" by Megan LeCluyse

Last fall, my sister came home from working at the orchard one day and suggested that we pick a month where we buy only local or fair trade food or items. As we were approaching Lent, we decided that would become our Lenten discipline. While we have by no means done it perfectly (ie things involving Penny don’t count), and while choosing this also has its own flaws, it has been a wonderful exercise, and created some great bi-products of living in this way:

  • Saturday mornings start out the way they normally do, taking Penny out for a walk, and then enjoying breakfast while catching up on Words with Friends or doing some reading. By 10 , we are ready to head out to do our food shopping. We’ll walk over three miles as we head to the Rittenhouse Square farmers market, and to Reading Terminal Market. It’s been great to get outside, do some walking, and spend time shopping for our food not in any kind of rush.
  • Since we now have been doing the bulk of our food purchasing once a week, more intentionality is required to determine what food we need for the week. We’ll actually do what all those articles suggest and plan out several meals for the week ahead of time. As a result, we have found that we not only waste less food , but have had less trash in general. We also have done a better job about using what is in the freezer or cupboard, instead of letting things sit there until they go bad. Plus, the food often tastes better. We just made our first batch of mashed potatoes from potatoes bought at the farmers market, and my comment was, “They taste earthy." 
  • We also have found that we are spending less money, and we aren’t even sure how or why! Maybe it’s because there are fewer trips to the store where you end up buying things you don’t need. I also can’t just hop online and buy that thing that looks cool. Overall, we’re finding that this is not more expensive, but is actually saving us money.
  • Physically, I’ve been feeling great! Now, to be fair, I’m also training for my first 10-mile race, and am probably in the best, or close to the best, shape I’ve ever been in. So that’s obviously part of it. But I also feel like the fact that I’m putting good food into my body is probably helping, too.
Yes, when Lent is over, we will lift the restrictions on what we can purchase, but I’m hoping will continue a lot of the practices we have established. As we are moving into spring and then summer, there will be a lot more fresh produce available! And it’s been good for us, both to think about our purchasing and buying habits and choices, but also to try to live a little closer to God’s creation, and enjoy the benefits that brings. I hope this Lenten season has brought something meaningful for you as well, whatever that might be.

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