Empowerment Through Action: Let’s Help Our Neighbors

Does the world feel a little unsettled right now?  Yeah, me too.

I don’t have kids at home (OK, our kid is 22 and has a job that he is not able to do from home, so there’s THAT extra feeling of stress in our household), BUT I know that life has suddenly gotten a lot more complicated.  Many of us are working at home (hey, like farmers!), and trying to find ways to keep some structure for our families.  Even those of us without kids home from school are thinking about our parents and our neighbors and the uncertain future of the next few weeks or months.

I’ve been reading a great book called The Obstacle is the Way, about turning times of difficulty into triumphant results.  It’s really helping me take the challenges that we are facing and look at them with a different eye.  How can we do good in the world?  How can our “separation” become a kind of “better togetherness”? How do we build community when we have to socially distance?

By sending double the love out into the world in our words and actions.

I have a friend who just did a one-day food drive for the Food Shelf, to help shore up struggling families.  Local stores are holding the first hour or so of the shopping day for the most at-risk folks, so they get to shop with the fewest people and [hopefully] the least danger.  I’m seeing online art classes pop up and live yoga classes, and on-farm videos and lamb tours (sorry, our lambs aren’t coming for a while yet!).  Restaurants are delivering, people are buying gift certificates to help businesses through the economic downturn. 

Our challenges are where our greatest creativity can come from.

I’ve been thinking a bunch about how to support folks in food need within our community, since food and community are what we’re all about.  I was going to save this idea for the classic Fall holiday time, but I think we should start now. 

Let’s Crowdsource a Pig.

Our annual batch of pigs are scheduled to go to the butcher on May 7.  I would love to send a whole pig directly to the Randolph Area Food Shelf and I could use your help.  I don’t mind waiving my time to raise the pig, but I would really appreciate any assistance in covering the cost of purchasing the pig, feeding it and getting it processed. We will likely arrange to put it into a variety of easy-to-cook cuts like sausage and chops so people can get fresh, hot meals on the table quickly.

Getting high-protein pork into the hands of families can really help keep them healthy, feel full and reduce stress.  And taking action to help others helps everyone feel better through empowerment and kindness, and all the wonderful human things we lean on each other for.

Oh! And I found this recipe in The Gourmet Butcher’s Guide to Meat, by our friend Cole Ward.  It’s a special recipe for pork hocks from the Tuscany region of Italy.  I think food is the most classic way to create connection between the shared circumstances of people going through life, don’t you?  P.S. I think this recipe sounds delicious as a roast or chops, too.

Pork Hocks (Stinco di maiale al forno)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Brush hocks with salt dampened slightly so it adheres to the meat; rub in minced garlic, rosemary, salt, and pepper.

Place a metal baking rack or roasting rack into a shallow pan.  Place the pork on top, and pour red wine (ideally, Chianti!) into the bottom.

When the outside of the pork gets crispy, lower the temperature to 275 degrees, and continue to cook until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.

Goes nicely with side dishes of turnips, lentils, or beans.

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