This week, as a new columnist to this paper, I want to share some background about myself and my relationship to food. Please know that I appreciate you. I welcome feedback and learning opportunities.

Since my earliest days in the kitchen with my mom, my relationship with food has evolved but has been greatly influenced by my mom. She was an avid gardener, baker, and food processor. She could whip up something from nothing and never let anything go to waste. This was a handy skill when scarcity reigned. I think I learned well by her example.

We grew most of our food out of necessity. I learned to respect the beauty and complexity nature offers and that all life has value. I have memories of savoring the delicacy of tiny, sweet baby carrots, pulled and immediately eaten. Like most people, I hated the process of weeding. My mother would get frustrated because I was slow. Yet, when finished, I prized the look of the culled area which showed off the hearty beans, carrots, potatoes, and beets. May through September, my knees and fingernails glowed the rich brown stain of the earth.

Harvest time brought endless days of food processing. How wonderful it was to gaze at the colorful array of jarred evidence of our labors and reflect on how the preserved, savory and sweet tastes of summer would get us through the harsh days of winter.

I am an avid baker, culinary expert, and gardener. What I can’t grow or bake, I try to buy from local farmers and fishers. I consult on GMO labeling bills and work to end human trafficking in food production.

I write to educate, empower, and support efforts to show that together we can learn about food and share it in a compassionate manner, no matter our preferences.

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