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  • Writer's pictureJill Macdonald

The Gift of Time

Christmas. This year, we all agreed—no expectations. A season without schedules, pressure or gifts. Any time that we could spend together was the goal, regardless of when, or how. It worked out beautifully, with one exception.

Jules walking in downtown Toronto

My eldest son lives in Toronto, the rest of us live in rural BC. We missed him. So, we pooled our resources to give him something he values and believes in—supporting a sustainable lifestyle. Start with the small, and work toward the big vision.

King Street West in Toronto's downtown core suffers from the city/suburb divide. Groovy restaurants, culture and shops can be found at every intersection, but reasonably priced local food markets are difficult to find. One should not preclude the other. Everyone deserves good ingredients.

One of the reasons there are so many restaurants in this area is time. Life in the city is demanding. Aside from hours spent at work, there are commutes, crowds, noise and a multitude of daily interactions that can leave a person exhausted. Sitting down and having someone else deliver a meal is a treat. With a price tag. One that rises over time.

Home is a haven. Jules was raised with home-cooked meals, quiet moments and the self-sufficiency that comes with healthy eating. Since his move to the city, that has not changed, but the cost of achieving it is wearing him down. After long days, weeks and months of a busy schedule, sourcing food becomes a chore, not a pleasure. Shopping eats away at precious downtime. Healthy habits become harder to maintain.

Organic produce on countertop

Sustainability takes effort. Where I live, in Revelstoke, we have a shockingly excellent farmers market that runs year-round. I say shocking because this area is not known as a food-producing region. My city is a designated destination resort, with limited shops. To have organic, sustainably produced bounty available all year is spectacular, and a testament to the local growing community.

Big cities are resources. Ideas spring from them because of constraints, cultures meeting and melding, and the need to develop inventive solutions to preserve the well-being of residents. When I thought about Jules, I wanted to gift him time and health. If a city believes in being progressive, if Ontario supports its local food economy, then surely, Toronto must have something to offer its urban citizens.

My research did not take long. A few skilled keyword searches landed me at FoodShare. FoodShare Toronto is a non-profit organization working towards a food-just city. A little reading revealed an organization that supplies excellent, affordable options—and delivery. All purchases and subscriptions fund their work in schools, on urban farms, and at produce markets all across Toronto.

Easy peasy. I signed him up. Full disclosure—a box of organic produce for 2 people costs $40/week. With support from his father, brother and grandmother, we gifted him four months of reduced shopping. After that, he can take over and design his choices. The idea is meant to simplify his days and give him time to adjust to random ingredients arriving. Every week the box is different and that does require a different approach to cooking. Most likely, that will result in a better balance and variety of dishes.

His first box arrived two weeks ago. Surprise! He was delighted. We feel rewarded. Simple is good. Sure, Jules could have found this himself. It doesn’t take much to do the legwork, sign up, configure your choices and arrange payment. But it takes time. A gift is a gift.

Jules and his mom

Support what you believe in—small economy, sustainable, local food producers and businesses.

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