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Healing with Fermentation — FermentWorks

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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 or circumstance. 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 int the category of elitist foods. How is that?This has been on my mind for years. I have sought opportunities to teach this once common practice to the underserved communities that need it most. Often it has been public libraries that have been the portal to homeless folks in cities (it’s 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 I feel the most like I am 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 or live freely on truly equal footing no matter their race, ethnicity, homeland, religion, gender or sexual orientation. We are all on an ailing planet with systemic poor health and suffering among its inhabitants. We have newly displaced folks from fires added to an already difficult system. 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)?We never want money to be the reason why someone can’t get access to our content. We’re keeping our basic fermentation course inexpensive during these troubled times because we don’t want anyone to not be able to access. If you cannot afford it please email us. All the proceeds from this class will be part of local efforts to help displaced folks in the fires that are sweeping through our community. We are working to coordinate food businesses, farms, and aid resource organizations to set up a meal preparation and delivery program. Meals, prepared in local restaurants with local ingredients, will be delivered to locations where evacuees and impacted families are sheltering. Breakfast. Lunch. Dinner. We are starting soon and will keep this program running for a minimum of six months.This is for the two the communities we have ties to that are gone, reduced to ashes, like so many others. These communities housed many low income farm and service community workers. The official FEMA numbers ignore these mobile home communities which make the majority of the aerial scenes you have all likely seen this week. Only the waffle patterns of the metal frames give any hint of the homes there stood there earlier that day. Participating restaurants, farms, and food processors will represent the diversity of our valley, with a focus on female and BIPOC owned businesses. Program investment capital will keep communities intact. Restaurant workers will be working and farmers will be farming, while evacuees are supported nutritionally and emotionally through the care taking of hospitality professionals.Thank you—let’s heal together, one gut at a time.

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