ECMP 355 is winding down. The formal, documented aspects of my learning project are thus ending, though the project will continue in spirit.
My Goal was to reduce waste and plastic use in my life. I didn’t know how to begin exactly, so I started saving vegetable scraps in the freezer. Eventually, those turned into some delicious chicken soup. I turned my eye to condiments, and how much wasted plastic goes into mayonnaise jars, so I learned how to whip up my own. Thanks to some prompting and encouragement from Celina and Matt, I went on to create home-made ketchup and BBQ sauce.
At this point, about halfway through the semester, we all got feedback on our progress in the course and it turned out I wasn’t completing the learning project as desired. I was focusing too much on what I was learning, and not enough on how I was learning. This threw a wrench into my Inception Cooking Series, and Parts III and IV were never released (for the curious, I made BBQ shredded chicken, and then created a home-made BBQ Chicken pizza).
I reoriented myself and started writing about the process of learning online. This was a challenge, because while I was learning new things (new recipes, new ways to reduce waste, etc) the process of learning wasn’t particularly new to me – I’ve been using the internet to expand my personal abilities for almost a decade. However, I wrote about discovering trust in online sources, and then went on to review comments sections – are they useful or not? I started exploring some myths about appropriate and ecologically friendly practices, and as a result, I’ve been scrubbing my cast iron pan in soapy water (after I use it) for the last month.
Essential to my learning project was the input and feedback I got from readers online. I’ve mentioned Matt and Celina above, but they were only two among many. Liam encouraged me to start buying meat from a butcher, to avoid wrapping, and I’ve been doing so (thanks Ukrainian Co-op!) Later, because of his and Kirsten‘s feedback on Kosher salt, Marty expanded my mind around compaction of grains in storage. He provided, and I shared, a resource on this more advanced consideration which would have radically changed the way I taught Workplace 20 during internship. The next time I have the opportunity, this will be included. Jessica was a constant source of inspiration, suggesting growing herbs out of wine bottles, and out of old egg shells.
This project has changed the way I shop. I’ve always used reusable shopping bags (thanks Mom) but I’ve become especially cautious when at grocery stores. I don’t put vegetables in those thin plastic bags – I’m going to wash them anyway, so they go straight in my cart. Sobeys made the horrific decision to only sell eggs in Styrofoam, so now I shop at Safeway. Whenever possible, I make multiple, small trips to the store, so I can fit groceries in my backpack and ride my bicycle, rather than drive. I avoid buying bagged bread, instead going to a bakery or baking my own.
The #LearningProject is done, but the learning doesn’t end here. This is a mission for life.