The staff at Earth + City are super passionate about creating the best products they can using local, organic and seasonal produce, made with sustainability in mind.
Get to know the awesome people who prepare the food items that you love and find out how they joined the Earth + City team. This week we chatted to Alex, one of Earth + City’s lovely market vendors.
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
Hello! My name is Alex, and I’ve been working with Earth + City for three years now. Over the years, I have worked primarily at farmers markets - which I must say are my favourite part of my job.
I often turn to my market sidekick, Kate, and express how lucky we are to spend our Saturday mornings surrounded by fresh veggies and other market goodies (I’m talking about veggie momos and delishkitch’s vegan chocolate chip cookies- if you know, you know!), while listening to great tunes by local musicians, and most importantly interacting and building relationships with our community over a shared passion for locally grown food.
I have also spent many hours in our kitchen where I have learned to make all of our products. I think it is so important while working at the market to be well-informed about how all of our products are made and what ingredients we use. I love it when a customer asks about an item on our table and I can easily recite (and pronounce) every ingredient in it since I helped make it the day before. Or better yet, when a customer asks about the apples in our green smoothie and I can point directly to a farmer a few tables down from us at the market and say “we get them from that guy over there, he grows them on his family run farm located just outside the city!.”
Apart from being an Earth + City employee, I am a philosophy student, yogi, runner, big sister, friend, and daughter (probably some other things too). So life is pretty darn good.
What do you love about food?
Short answer: Food is yummy!
Long answer: I’ve lived in cities my whole life (Toronto and NYC), but from the year I was born until I was 16 I spent my entire summers at our little beachfront shack in Camlachie, Ontario. Up until a couple years ago, this was our tech-free zone: no tv, computer, or phones were allowed in the cottage (one year we even tried no electricity). This is why my sisters and I would bike over 15 km to my grandparents house where we could watch Disney movies. Whenever we were at their place in the evenings, our grandma would get us to run to the back yard and and pick some veggies from her garden for dinner. We would come back with the sweetest carrots, crunchy green beans (which became a favourite movie snack), various types of tomatoes, tons of cucumbers, and lots of leafy greens. Her garden seemed magical, no matter how many cucumbers we ate, more and more would grow. It fed us the entire summer, and come fall she would preserve the remaining produce and turn it into her famous pasta sauce!
My family instilled a deep love for nature in me at a young age which has grown into a strong interest in our relationship with food and the natural world.
Processed food these days breaks my heart. I’m not kidding, I have shed real-life tears over the industrial chemical “azodicarbonamide” found on the back of most store-bought breads, which also happens to be used for making yoga mats! And while having produce available year-round is handy, ask me how I really feel about lettuce and tomatoes being shipped across the country. Did you know that by the time they arrive at the grocery store they have lost up to half of their nutrients? : (
To me this represents a disconnect to our natural world. That is, from the land, other animals we share this planet with, and from our own roots. We have reduced the natural world to mere resources which can be exploited and commodified (Trees= wood, cows= burger… you get the point). I believe many of our health problems today, both physically and mentally, stem from this disconnect.
As much as learning about the reality of our food today pains me, having this awareness has only strengthened my love and respect for the natural world. I believe in the power of food to nourish and heal our bodies. Food that is alive and grown in dirt from the farmers market or your own backyard contains so much more vital energy than anything you will find packaged at the grocery store.
For these reasons, I feel so fortunate to be working with Earth + City, a sustainable, locally-sourced, plant-based business.
Favourite Product? Spring pesto when it’s in season.
Favourite season? Summer
Favourite food: Can I pick two? Fingerling potatoes (so creamy) and watermelon!
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Did you know that one of your favourite Earth and City products is a collaboration with another awesome Toronto-based small business? That’s right...our crackers contain leftover nutrient-rich juice pulp from Village Juicery’s cold-pressed juices.
These days there are apps for everything from playing with someone else’s dog to sailing on someone else’s boat. There’s even one for using other people’s toilets!
It’s called Garden Sharing... the idea is to build a sense of community, give people access to green space and create a supply of healthy, local and organic fruits and vegetables.