Browngirl Going Green


Where I’ve Been
November 16, 2010, 7:11 pm
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Apologies for being so absent these last few months, but life has taken a big turn for me—for the good—and I needed to take a break from blogging for awhile, as well as revisit how public I wanted to be with my big news: I’m pregnant! I’m very excited to become a Mama as I’ve been wanting a child of my own for many years, and the Creator has blessed me with the new life growing inside me. During these past few months of my pregnancy, I have felt the need to go inwards, to take more time just to be quiet and listen to my baby, and of course to nest! There are lots of preparations to make before the little one is born and my partner and I have both been busy with regular work as well. My creative writing is moving along smoothly, and I feel that I need to priortize that writing for now, with my time and energy for writing in general becoming more limited.

And so while I enjoyed blogging and will hopefully come back to it after the baby is born (I already hear all the parents out there laughing at me), I am going to continue to take a break from public blogging, aside from my occasional posts on the GIFT Exchange blog of the Grassroots Institute for Fundraising Training, where I write about fundraising, movement-building and nonprofits.

I’m sure that when I am a Mama-for-real instead of just a Mama-to-be, I will have many interesting and new insights into environmental issues, writing and other things that I’ve written about previously. Thanks for reading and check back in late Spring 2011 for more from me.



Waiting for Our Pig
January 21, 2010, 10:25 pm
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I’m in the (hopefully) last days of a seemingly endless wait for the delivery of the humanely-raised, pasture-raised whole pig (yes, I said PIG) that I bought with six other Bay Area foodies via the Bay Area Meat CSA, which is essentially a big, complex network of message boards that help folks self-organize a collective purchase of a sustainably-farmed animal. More about CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture programs) in general here, and a good article about Bay Area folks buying meat through CSAs here.

Since I saw the excellent documentary film Food, Inc. several months ago with my partner, Henry, I’ve been trying to only buy and eat meat from sustainably-farmed and humanely-treated animals. (You have to watch the film to get a sense of why it would cause this dramatic behavior-change). This is a lot harder than it sounds, although it’s much easier to do it in the Bay Area–where there are many local farmers that are dedicated to raising and selling these kinds of animals. I’m not going to get into the vegetarian/vegan vs. meat-eater argument here (but I will at a later time), but I will say that I love meat. I also love animals–and I don’t, thusfar, see a contradiction between the two.

So I figure the least I can do is get my meat from places that aren’t torturing the animals or turning them into strangely mutated creatures (like the conventionally raised chickens that can’t walk because their breasts have been made so huge by hormone-laced feed), but instead are treating the animals with respect and giving them fairly good, happy lives.

Ironically–or serendipitously, depending on how you look at it–‘my’ pig, which we’re getting from Godfrey Family Farms in Marysville, Calif., was killed on my birthday (December 30). This made me pause and reflect on the fact that I was soon going to knowingly eat meat from an animal whose life was unnaturally ended on the day of my birth. And while that knowledge isn’t going to stop me from enjoying that meat, I’m sure, it does make me more deeply respect and honor the animals that I eat in general.

My family is from the Philippines, a largely rural country–and they are mostly peasants. I say this with no irony and with the utmost respect. My people (starting with my mother and going back generations upon generations) worked the land, fished and lived off of nature’s bounty. I’m of the first generation in my family removed from this earth-based culture and lifestyle, and I know I can learn a lot from my family about how to live more in touch with nature. I have family members who have killed animals with their own hands (fish and chickens and goats, and probably pigs), but who I think have more respect for nature and a deeper understanding of their relationship to it than many vegetarian, Prius-driving, organic-produce-buying, self-proclaimed environmentalists that I know. Because my family’s relationship to nature is not intellectual or political or based on something they read in a magazine or a book. Their relationship is based in the way they have fed and sheltered themselves and their children–in the way they had to survive.

And so I strive to have a similar relationship with my food as my ancestors have–in a more modern way. And so I wait, guiltlessly, for my pig, and look forward to eating its meat–with gratitude and respect.