Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Hello and welcome to The Mindful Table.

This blog was born out of my own desire to feed my passion for food sustainably, and my frustration at not easily being able to find shops and resources to support my choices. This, despite living in the Montreal-area since I was a child, and being active in vegetarian and food activism since the 1990s.

These days, I no longer consider myself a vegetarian. A couple of years ago I started eating sustainably-raised meat supplied by local farms, as well as fish and seafood from sustainable fisheries. However finding these food choices in Montreal takes a bit of detective work. This surprised me immensely given the size of this city and our collective passion for food (not to mention our city's reputation for activism!). This blog is to help me record my sustainable discoveries, and for me to share them with you.

A few notes: For me, sustainable food isn't restricted to organic and local. Although these are practices I strongly support, I believe the labels themselves are only one part of a greater equation. For example, should I buy organic apples from BC or conventionally farmed apples from a local, family-run farm? Similarly, while I'm thrilled by the recent surge in popularity and availability of fair trade products, fair trade is also only a label. At some point, I'm sure I'll write more about my thoughts on these and similar topics.

Finally, sustainable dining goes beyond the food on my plate. It includes the plate and all that goes into getting the food onto that plate. Cookware, tableware, entertaining, backyard gardening, dining in, dining out, and even recipes, all of these will have a place on this blog.


This Is What a Feminist Looks Like said...

You should check out this story on fair trade from NPR:

It's about fair trade, and while it's a label I tremendously support, it highlights how fair trade is only a small piece of creating more equitable food economies. Of course it's good to pay a farmer a "fair" price for coffee beans, but if I ship them out and roast them in Boston and then sell them for $16/lb, most of the money involved in the coffee industry will still stay right here. Also, of course, there are all kinds of wonderful "direct trade" arrangements, but they take a lot more looking in to in order to make sure they're wonderful, since it's not a regulated label!

Amanda said...

Thanks! My eyes got opened a bit recently during a trip to a small Carribean island. Naturally I was asking about agriculture. All the locals I spoke with were very proud that the farms on the island didn't use pesticides etc, and they said that they felt farm workers got a fair living and the plantation owners were local and involved in the communities. When I asked a few of them about fair trade, they said it had actually hurt the island because now they were having to compete with that label... yet what the island had been doing all along was essential organic fair trade anyway. There was more t it than that, but it was an very interesting conversation.