This blog is about learning to love my hometown and growing to be an active member of the community I plan to call my home for a long time, perhaps a lifetime. Often, the posts tend to be about local food because:
- I love food and cooking.
- There are tons of great local farms here—It is Pennsylvania, after all.
- You can learn a lot about a town through tasting it.
There are many other things I love about this town—Access to hiking trails, cultural and arts events, inspiring people …
There are also things I don’t like about this town—Poor public transportation, intolerance, suburban sprawl …
And, there are great things that I discover about this town every day. Most recently, what I’ve learned about this area is not that another great ethnic restaurant opened or that a new rail-trail is completed, but that there are passionate people doing awesome things here. Of course, I knew several inspiring people here already (take my friend Emily, for example, who has grown her family’s café, Jumbars, by epic proportions and earned a spot on the Eastern PA Business Journal Top 20 Under 40 list), but I didn’t realize the whole wealth of people who exude passion literally in my neighborhood. I didn’t get that feeling of community or that sense that I belong in this area—thus, my strong desire to move west.
Since the start of this month, I met and/or shared conversation with a person who knows a ton about edible gardening, a person who stands for the environment as a leader with Appalachian Mountain Club, a person who spends time on the train to the city working on discussion forums to help the community and blogs about modern home economics, a person who teaches people what the heck to do with tofu, a person who organized a humanist organization in this area (I didn’t even know there was one here!), a person who passionately shares her knowledge of the vegan lifestyle, and a person who inspires little girls not to be afraid of bugs and uses words like “vermaculture” when talking to 5 year olds. There are some seriously awesome people in my neighborhood.
How did I come to meet all of these people? Through the initial discussions of the Bethlehem Grocery Co-Op. YES—Each of these cool folks are also interested in FOOD! Food and community. Like me! They don’t stare at me like I am the three-eyed fish from the Simpsons because I make chips from scratch or drink raw milk or think that the community should be educated about composting. Sure, I knew a couple of these people already, but I really don’t think I would even know that my neighbors are doing so much if I hadn’t gone to that first co-op meeting. All I can say is, if these are the kinds of strong minds and passionate souls that are coming together to make a co-op happen, there’s no way that it will not rock the freaking socks off of this valley.
So, spread the word that the cool kids are at the co-op meetings. Head over to the co-op blog to download some flyers to get the word out. You’ll probably end up meeting some ridiculously awesome people.