This post is part of The Edmonton Do Gooder Project, a series of profiles on Edmonton folks doing good in creative ways.

1.     What is the good result you are hoping to create?

Approaching food differently provides a quality of life. People are missing out on that opportunity and I want to change that.

I want people to reinvent their food system. I believe that food is better when it’s fresh. I want to regain that connection with food. It also has an impact on the environment, food security, and more. It changes the types of animals people buy. I find out more reasons all the time. It just makes sense. It’s the logical thing.

2.     What is your approach for making this happen?

The only way I figured I could change the food culture I spent my life in was to simply do it, at home, one small step at a time. So I started doing stuff, and started documenting on my website circa 2005. I started gardening. Took up hunting big game. Built a root cellar. Started butchering pigs, beef, moose, elk, deer, antelope. Started foraging. I built a wood oven. Started smoking meats. Built a fruit crusher & press. Fermented some cider. Introduced myself to some farmers. Stepped into the world of charcuterie. Got involved in the food community. I kept taking small steps in all of these areas, slowly changing how we ate, and how we lived.

I take and edit photos, produce videos, and write a blog about food and agriculture. It includes cooking, farming and more. I focus on 5 main areas:

  • Sourcing food from yards
  • Sourcing food from the wild
  • Sourcing food from local farms
  • Cellar/charcuterie/preserving
  • Cooking with fire

I do speaking and writing engagements. There’s some media stuff – being interviewed and visited by media outlets.

I grow food and contribute to Lactuca Micro Farm. I’m involved with Operation Fruit Rescue Edmonton (OFRE), and NAIT. I run foraging workshops.

Ultimately, I want to influence people in a passive way. I don’t ever want to dictate or evangelize. I want to model something and hope that others are influenced.

3.     What makes this issue/area the best fit for you personally?

I used to do music – I was in a band and I did song writing. At some point, I had to step out of that life because we decided to have a family. I needed another way to diarize my activity – to document and express what I was doing.

I was motivated by what the French call ‘cuisine du terroir’ – quite literally cuisine that speaks to place and time. I wanted to figure out the value provided to people who live that way – I’m trying to discover what that really means here and now.

I come from an ultra-conservative background. I majored in finance and operations management in school. The stuff I’m into now is often associated with a sort of ‘hippyism’. I come from a different background, so I feel like I can bridge that gap; make it more accessible to the mainstream.

As a musician, I learned photo, video, and audio editing. I have that foundation of creativity. I know how to capture an audience – my stuff has to be kind of cool to watch so that people will be attracted to it.

My finance career taught me to ask people tough questions – it helps make my interviews more substantive. I’m not afraid to ask the local farmers about things that others might find awkward or embarrassing.

Also, it’s not a crowded field. I felt there was a niche to fill. What I’m doing was unusual when I started seven years ago.

The subject of food and agriculture is endlessly interesting to me, both creatively and intellectually. I love both those angles. It keeps me fueled.

4.     How will you know if you’re making progress?

I can track progress to some extent through my web analytics. I know how many hits and views I have. I know the demographics of the people I’m reaching. Increasingly, they’re accessing the site from western Canada, and from places with similar climates and growing conditions.

I also get direct feedback from people in the form of comments, emails and face-to-face conversations. They tell me what they’re doing. They come looking for help and advice. They report back on how it goes.

5.     What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

Something I’ve learned is that I have to be careful about where to commit my time. I haven’t been good at saying no – I sometimes over commit and then I can’t deliver.

Also, when I first started blogging, I wrote about whatever. I didn’t have a focus. Now, I’m strict about sticking to my five categories.

I’ve been challenged a lot by people who disagree with my point of view. That helps motivate me.

One success has been closing the spring gap this year. My family is now eating fresh food from our yard year round.

When it comes to meat, vegetables, fruit, grains, and legumes, my family’s food system has been substantially converted to ethical and sustainable sources. I’m really proud of that.

Whenever I get feedback from people and I know they appreciate what I’m doing, that feels like success.

Next up, I want to be producing at least 50 videos a year. I really want to focus on that.

I also save a lot of money for the family food budget. That means we get to eat the best quality food around for arguably the lowest price. That’s a success.