I believe simple is good, yet our food has gotten quite complicated.

We’ve added chemicals, herbi/pesti-cides, shipping, packaging and waste in general. Which has taken away: flavor, nutrition, freshness, humane animal care and connection to where it came from or who grew it.

As I see it, our food system is broken.

I’m on a mission to get back to simple local food that’s delicious and doable. I’ll be interviewing local farmers, talking about the food they grow, sharing simple, healthy recipes, and showing how to preserve local flavors for the winter. And since real hunger exists even with all this amazing food around us, I’ll be sharing ways to connect local food with people who need it.

I’ve always loved digging in the dirt. To be able to coax flavorful food from the dirt, harvest then prepare and eat it with family and friends; there is something simple yet stunning in that process. And while I can’t find a soul who has extra time on their hands, we’re still drawn to slow food.

As a mom of two young boys I was searching for easy, balanced, realistic ways to use the best of all the competing food ideals; local, sustainable, organic, clean eating, fast, nutritious, tasty. But I couldn’t find any one place that collected local common sense food information so we can improve our own food situation. Feeding our families should not be guilt or fear inducing. Remember when food was fun? (…and you didn’t know about High Fructose Corn Syrup, Monosodium Glutamate and Trans Fat?)

And really, what’s more fun than visiting a farm!? Just getting in the car to drive there sets me smiling; no matter if we’re heading to a produce farm, dairy farm, vineyard, historic farm, apiary or pizza farm (pure genius there). These are my happy places and farmers are my people- except SO much harder working than me.

In truth, this blog is partly an excuse to fill my days (and my kids’ childhoods) visiting with and learning from farmers, petting some goats, chasing some chickens, walking beautiful land and making meals with this local food when we’re back in the burbs.

Our family also raises a few hens, grows fruits and veggies, boils maple syrup and ‘puts up’ some local flavors, but I know I’ve only scratched the surface. I’ll pass along my mistakes so you can skip over some of the mess and frustration.

*Disclaimer* I still buy packaged food off the shelves of big box stores. I am on this food journey lugging along two kids, a meat and potatoes husband and my own sweet tooth. And (gasp) I’m quite sure I’ll never eat only local food, I crave that crisp grape crunch in the middle of winter- but those grapes are a rare treat, not bought weekly in the container almost too big for my middle fridge shelf. And if I ever home make pasta from locally grown grains, it will likely be a first and last *fun-filled* experiment. But if you find a local company that does that, please let me know!

That leads to a bit about the blog name, Forks in the Dirt. ‘A fork in the road, the common phrase, speaks to my belief that there are many paths to food integrity- and each of our paths will look different. My goal is to show you some of the paths to eating better so can choose one and start walking the walk. We don’t have to take every path, just A path!

More than anything I am striving for balance here. Growing what I can, buying locally what I can, preserving what I can, thinking about where my meat and produce comes from, and giving my food waste back to nature to decompose (or let the chickens recycle it). Carbon footprints, methane gasses and packaging aside, all these things need to be easy enough to do that I’ll keep doing them, and the food my family eats needs to taste as good if not better than what we were eating before- oh and it shouldn’t cost us (much) more. Sounds like a tall order right?

Well, I’m not letting perfect get in the way of better anymore. I decided to get my fork in the dirt and to post what I learn right here.

And food is a whole different kind of struggle for those without enough. Real hunger is happening right in our neighborhoods, in the middle of all this overproduction of food (and 40% food waste from farm to table). But, there are inspiring initiatives linking gardeners and farmers with people and food shelves who are ready to receive the food and put it to good use. I’ll let you know how you can join in any efforts that call to you.

I hope the stories inspire you to meet a farmer or two, eat more local, organic foods and trust in our abundant and solid Minnesota food system.

It all starts with the dirt, so…

Let’s Dig In!