A Plant-Based Afternoon
I’ll be honest, I didn’t know what to expect when I pulled up to Spiral Gardens in North Oakland this afternoon. I didn’t really have any expectations, but I did have biases. But also, hope. It’s not the first time that I have been to a free Sunday afternoon class at this community farm and nursery. Each weekend Kanchan Hunter brings various local food activists/wholistic health luminaries the farm as part of its groundbreaking Food Security Project. Representatives from Movementgeneration.org and people such as, author/chef Bryant Terry of Vegan Soul Kitchen fame, have come to the outdoor classroom to share their knowledge with the community for two hours every Sunday for free! These offerings have all been enlightening, empowering, and fun.
Today’s presentation happened to be by a friend of a friend that I’ve been wanting to meet simply by virtue of the fact that said friend tends to attract phenomenal people into her orbit. So why the trepidation you ask? I’ll tell you.
Veganism. Recently rebranded as Plant-based.
Before you go thinking I’m some evil bitter carnivore, let me just say that I was raised as a vegetarian and I even been vegan in the past. But I must say in retrospect, I sometimes want to get in a time machine, break all television Sci-fi physics rules, go back and slap myself for how preachy and self righteousness I was. I must say, in all fairness, that when Spiral Gardens and Tamu Mosley advertised this class on raw food cuisine, they used neither the v- word or even the p-word in the title. Which should have told me not to worry,-- that e’ry thang was gonna be alright. But my suspicious mind thought that wording might just be a wily ruse. That, plus the fact that I went through my Cafe Gratitude phase 10 years ago, dropping mass quantities of money on raw flax crackers and cold pressed almond milk. I bought the recipe book and spent $50 and 36 hours making 8 oz. of raw granola. With the proliferation of publications on plant-based diets proffering page after page, of improbable concoctions, each meticulously garnished with about $40 worth of fruit, healthy eating is pretty, but it doesn’t seem attainable, even for bougie women like me. And that’s kind of what I feared I’d sacrificed a perfectly good Sunday afternoon to witness, live.
Thankfully, I was completely wrong.
When I pulled up a chair under the canopy, (actually just shy of it, in the warm sunshine). Ms. Mosley wasn’t insisting that everything we had ever eaten was wrong and evil, she was humbly offering that maybe we could substitute some of our meals with things like green smoothies, simply made, with easy to find ingredients. She showed us well- seasoned vegetable and nutmeat tacos that could be made completely without the use of a sous chef, and it was good. My favorite thing was the cashew cream sauce she drizzled on the tacos. Bangin’. I can definitely see myself making that one.
She never proclaimed anything she shared to be gospel. She just let us know what she does for herself and her clients, giving real life examples of how she and they had benefited. More than anything I am grateful for the help in getting over my cynicism about people who choose this particular style of eating. Which means maybe, I could actually be one again. And that’s a good thing. I won’t bore you with why. You may have heard it once or twice before.