Julia Curran is a new contributor to Climate Steps, although she has been writing, creating, and discovering with photography (and cooking and mending and exploring) for several years via Instagram and Twitter via her handle (@happifydesign. A friend and fellow Climate Reality Leader, she has offered to share some of her writings here – past and present. We’re going to start with one that she posted today, and then go back and bring some past ones forward.
I’ve been pretty seriously locked down since early last March, doing what I can to prevent the spread of Covid. I finished moving into my new apartment on 3/7/20, a one bedroom I chose with the very specific intention of gathering with more people in circles wider flung than my usual to share and dream and mend and stitch our way to justice and a physical balance in this tiny world.
Of course Covid means that the inside of apartment has seen me and my flame, plus one friend once who walked quickly through it to sit on the balcony with me as we nestled into piles of wool blankets in the fall, knowing everything was going to get harder and lonelier.
So I’ve started fermenting food, a goal I’ve had for years. Ferment is our historical human method of preserving food before the advent of the environmentally-terrifying and public-health-boon refrigerator (seriously, read up on refrigerant disposal, which @projectdrawdown (www.projectdrawdown.org) highlights in what to address early to reduce emissions quickly).
Fermented foods allow those of us with six months of winter to preserve what’s local and keeps well, rather than depending on fossil fuel guzzling “reefers” (refrigerated semis) to feed us.
Fermented foods keep our gut biota healthy; the studies showing their benefit range from helping reduce colic in babies to mood regulation in mental health to mitigating some symptoms of autism (that’s me!) to calming gout.
But right now, in my life, fermented foods are living creatures sharing this space where I wish you were, friends. They’re more active than my winter houseplants, cuter than the centipede that scurries across my floor every few months.
They’re a little bit alive, a lot of glory, a colorful miracle (along with window-grown green onions) in a pandemic diet heavy on the beans and grains since I’ve reduced my once-daily grocery trips to monthly.
And they’re a step in (re)learning the skills and ways of being that are most human, least destructive, healing.
(If you’re interested in fermented foods, @picklewitch is amazing and their offerings are delicious. And @zerowastechef (https://linktr.ee/zerowastechef) has been a kind and thorough guide in learning food sustainability by practicing it.)