I remember traveling to Cuba on behalf of the Ontario government in the early 1990’s. This was an agriculture mission, working with the Cuban government on strategies for improving poultry, swine and dairy production. The experience was tremendous, as I realized the beauty of the country, the diverse culture, and the respect and appreciation the Cubans had for the Canadian government. Canada supported Cuba’s agriculture industry through knowledge and genetics, and the relationship was a friendly one.
This was the time that the Russians pulled down the “Wall,” symbolizing a transformation away from communism. Fidel Castro referred to it as “special times.” He made a plea for his people to become more self-sufficient, starting at home. A large part of that plea involved encouraging the people to farm their land, no matter what size or type of property they had. A small piece of grass–a meter or so–was to be turned over and planted with edibles rather than non-edible. Oxen drew carts as the buses and trucks rested to avoid fuel consumption.
This “special time” stayed with me in the decades that followed. It inspired me to live by those principles in my own life. Now emerging is the new term, hot off the press, of “locavore,” which means to eat within a few kilometers of your home to keep the transport of food stuffs to a minimum. The way of the locavore is to buy locally rather than abroad; to eat what is in season and what requires the lease transportation. The locavore movement makes lots of sense from a sustainability, environmental, and health perspective, but also from an economic perspective.
I’d like you to consider going one step further: instead of focusing on local, why not endeavor to produce and harvest as much as you can right at home? If each person grew only one tomato plant, think of all the savings in fuel and handling costs we’d experience. The food you grow yourself is safe and reliable, and you know very well what you are eating and how it was grown. This philosophy can be explained by my new term: “domuvore.” “Domus” is Latin for home, and suffix “vore” stands for the type of food we choose to consume–whether meat, vegetables or both. Domuvores are locavores who take the philosophy one step further and embrace our “special time” to use the space we have around our own homes to grow and harvest the food we eat.
There are a plethora of books available about creating the opportunity to eat at what we produce at home. One recommendation is Modern Pioneering by Georgia Pellegrini, which provides many useful tips and ideas for the domuvore. As I always say, charity starts at home. Read some iChicken blogs, check out a book or two, Google more information, or shoot me an email. Become a domuvore and create the opportunity to eat from your harvest at home no matter what condo, townhouse, apartment, semi-detached, home or farm you have. There are simply too many opportunities to get a seed planted and growing.
Try it! You will prosper. Make this “special time” your “special time.”