This is something that is near and dear to my heart and I have discussed with the Shockey’s, my fermenting gurus and friends. So in spite of their world being turned upside down with COVID they are still walking the talk and trying to connect with those folks in most need. Scroll down to the bottom paragraphs and you will see what I mean.
We hope this finds you well. For the last few months we have been working on getting two special fermentation classes up. One is a Master Class that includes 7 techniques, a number of videos and a full color workbook with recipes. This class has so much for both a seasoned fermenter as well as brand new fermenters. The other class is very basic fermentation and is 100% FREE.
FREE? What you say? Why? Let us explain.
Microbes are everywhere and key to nearly every natural process. They were on the Earth first, long before our farthest common ancestors existed, and they will likely be here long after we have died out or left the planet for a new, less polluted home. You are reading and I am writing because our ancestors noticed something pretty special. They noticed that fruit turned to alcohol and then vinegar, vegetables got sour, milk curdled. It just happened and these ancients learned to duplicate this by creating the environment where the magic could happen again and again. Thus, they preserved their food, making it last through the lean times while also making it safer and more nutrient dense.
Here is the thing. These live foods should have nothing to do with privilege. The microbes are non-judgmental, they are everywhere and don’t cost a damn thing. They don’t require special equipment just a little bit of knowledge and care to their needs. The cheapest commodity vegetables under the work of the microbes becomes incredibly rich, delicious and healthy. And yet, fermented foods have fallen into the category of elitist foods. How is that?
This has been on our mind for years. We have sought opportunities to teach this once common practice to the under-served communities that need it most. Often it has been public libraries that have been the portal to homeless folks in cities (its true you can ferment in an old jar without access to a kitchen or refrigeration), or impoverished rural communities. The people at these programs soak in the information and are truly grateful. It is in these moments that we feel the most like we are doing a little something to make the world a better place. Yet, it has never felt like enough.
Here we are now, 2020, unable to gather, more and more folks powerless to fulfill their basic needs. We are on an ailing planet with systemic poor health and suffering among its inhabitants. We are facing the ugly truths of white supremacy, we are saying their names, we are marching for change. As someone interested in better and equal food systems, we have long noticed the lack of color in the fermentation community. We stand with black, indigenous, people of color, and the many other diverse communities of people who are struggling in the current “structure.”
We hope this class finds you.
Fermentation is simple yet powerful. Powerful in its ability to heal. Powerful to help individuals take a small amount of control of their food. It’s a bold first step. What other process takes the most inexpensive vegetables and allows a body to make their own probiotics, vitamins and digestive enzymes (that happen to taste great)?
If you are reading this and know of urban gardening projects, teachers working in black, indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) communities or other under-served communities, community organizers working on food systems, or the many others out there then please pass this on far and wide. If you want to support the development of more free classes you can donate here. If you want to teach fermentation in your communities reach out if you have questions.
Thank you—let’s heal together, one gut at a time.