I was fortunate enough to watch the documentary film All the Time in the World by Suzanne Crocker who, alongside husband Gerard and their three children (family pets too), took a rustic cabin in Yukon as their temporary home for the nine-month long winter. The film generously welcomes us to join the family as they discover their startling, exquisite new environment and learn about one another and themselves. If viewers are having an auspicious day, the documentary might offer them something new to learn about themselves too.
The documentary film was charming to watch: the three children supportively guided one another in tasks and hobbies despite their mother’s early concern that the children would struggle to get along. Indeed, one of the film’s highlights shows the three siblings excitedly circling the cottage on Halloween night: because there are no other houses in sight, the children repetitively knock on the cottage door and are delightedly greeted by a new surprise that their parents have prepared for them each time. Once again, we are reminded that no matter how repetitive our lives might feel we do not need to live out a monotonous existence. Somehow, just like Suzanne’s family comes to understand, we have it in us to gaze unfamiliarly at the familiar. On Halloween night, the children approach the familiar cottage door of their temporary home with caution and uncertainty each time they revisit it. They are unable to predict whether mom and dad will emanate good witches or transform into creatures ghoulishly wicked in much the same way the family cannot know whether the next step taken on melting ice will involve catastrophe or the progression of a journey. Somehow, the concept of revisiting the already familiar seems to resonate throughout the film: we are often treated to glimpses of the family bonding together over yet another new creative engagement (Kate excitedly ties the knot with Percy Jackson and the two unify through games and imagination). Creativity, we might say, is the family’s accomplice: the family tackle their tasks like artists which means even the simplest tasks have the ability to strike one as intensely complex.
But complexity, like simplicity, is expectant of the philosophical family we come to know and appreciate. We watch the film welcome viewers to ponder over the aesthetic brilliance of a small flower only to juxtapose this small image with the more massive view of a frosty winter landscape adorned by an imposing sunset. Both the flower and the winter landscape reveal equal complexity despite the apparent contrast in size but we might have missed this observation without Suzanne’s careful filmmaking that meticulously offers us a new view on what we believe we already know. The juxtaposition of Suzanne’s filmmaking often leaves us questioning whether it is justifiable to regard anything physically small as ‘small’. How can we when complexity in the film is an attribute of simplicity? The film, perceivably simplistic in its good-hearted family adventure, also deals with the poignant, necessary struggle of human life: can any family ever escape the concept of time? Perhaps not. However, immersing in the profoundly slow-paced world of wintry Yukon, Suzanne’s family shifted rather close to feeling no longer constrained by time. We can only assume Suzanne is trying to show us yet another alternate perception: this time, to the concept of time. Rather than fret about time, let us allow for charming seasons (perhaps even prolonged old man-winter) to misplace our clocks and watches and gift us with an optimistic perception to a perennial worry.
Come visit us at Hart House tomorrow between 12 and 3pm- we’ll have a table with free produce samples and seed packets at the U of T House event for Pan Am!!
I would like to share an interesting journal article with you that I found concerning Food Policy Councils (FPCs). If you are interested in issues concerning food policy, I hope you will be able to find some time to read the article too! The author, Danielle M. Purifoy, does a decent job expanding on some problems that current FPCs should tackle. Her article, “Food Policy Councils: integrating food justice and environmental justice,” is admirable in the way Purifoy vividly demonstrates that social justice is interconnected with the food goals FPCs work to achieve. Her proposition rests on the idea that in order for FPCs to operate sufficiently, they must permit an extension of their food concerns to also include matters of environmental justice and food justice. Essentially, environmental justice, equity in how environmental benefits are distributed and environmental burdens are prevented for all communities, and food justice, equitable access and distribution of healthy and culturally appropriate food to all communities, should always be kept in mind when handling and discussing matters that are central to food policy. FPCs have the potential to do really well but only if the council members are willing to listen to and incorporate the concerns of minority groups and members of low-income communities in the decision-making process. Unfortunately, it is the minority groups and members of low-income communities that are often the most vulnerable to environmental and political mistreatment. To eliminate such vulnerability, it is crucial that all members within a FPC accept and appreciate the representation of a multitude of voices that come from different walks of life. The message we can take with us here is that the most successful FPCs will work to integrate all members of a community and ensure individuals from all walks of life are secured the right for equal representation.
Thanks for reading, everyone! :) Below I will attach the citation for the article in case anyone is interested in reading it:
Purifoy, Danielle M. “Food policy councils: integrating food justice and environmental justice.” Duke Environmental Law & Policy Forum Spring 2014: 375+. Academic OneFile. Web. 12 July 2015.
“I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person.” -Walt Whitman
Check out the blogpost featuring Campus Agriculture on the Life @ U of T Blog!!
We’ve begun harvesting garlic, garlic scapes, kale, and lettuce from the Hart House and UTSU gardens!! We are in the process of drying out the garlic in our office before braiding and donating it. In the meantime, check out our past post on how to prepare garlic scapes here- http://campusagriculture.ca/2014/06/26/better-get-your-hands-on-some-garlic-scapes/
And and this site for things to do with garlic scapes while waiting for the garlic bulbs to dry and mature-
If you didn’t get any from our gardens, try looking at a local farmers market or produce shop this month while they’re still growing.
Hope that everyone who made it out to Hart House Farm for Midsummer’s Eve enjoyed a pleasant weekend celebrating the summer solstice. What a beautiful weekend it was! Thank you, Farm Committee, for inviting us to a weekend full of wonderful memories: the delicious farm meals prepared specially for us, the campfire warmth (and thoughtful tunes) around good company, and the dancing fireflies amiably greeting us at moonlight will long be in our thoughts. Until next year, friends!
“Are you sure/That we are awake? It seems to me/That yet we sleep, we dream”–William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream