Friday was my last official day employed by Midwest Environmental Advocates: a day I have already thoroughly shared all my emotions about and that I had seen coming for quite some time. And yet, the whole week was greeted with much more intense emotions than I ever expected. What no one can see coming when they’re preparing themselves mentally for a big life transition is the stream of real world events that will inevitably surround you.
I packed up to leave my non-profit gig of nearly six years in an empty office. The team is still (very responsibly) working from home. I haven’t seen them in person for over two months. What a weird, lonely way to say goodbye.
I also bid adieu to intelligent, thoughtful coworkers who tend to be the people I turn to when I need to discuss heart-wrenching, emotionally complex current events while our country was literally catching fire. Like many of my friends and family, I’ve felt such a stream of emotions and questions flowing through me as a tremendously privileged white person in a white neighborhood who has no end of choices and is almost always safe, and ironically just left the career where such fodder was always up for discussion.
The current world we find ourselves living in makes my big change feel both overwhelming and completely irrelevant. I guess I wasn’t prepared to handle any of that. How could I have been?
So I just keep cooking and farming, finding comfort in the centering habits I’ve developed over the past decade. I try to develop new networks and spaces where I can learn, engage and discuss all that’s happening around me since I just said goodbye to one of my favorite places to contemplate the world’s biggest issues. I journal. I ponder. I bring conflicting difficult thoughts to my husband and we discuss in a way we never have before. I challenge myself to ask how the time that’s opened up by leaving my old career will allow me to push for the things that matter in our own little business. I think about: How can we be better? How can we be allies? How can we make local food and farming less white?
And I look down at my bowl filled with a springy salad of fresh lettuce and radishes, and I yearn to share it with you. Even if it’s the worst thing to share right now. Even if it’s irrelevant. Even if it isn’t helping anyone– because maybe somehow it is. Maybe a salad can bring people together and maybe in that coming together, people have big conversations. I don’t know. I’m still finding the answers to the questions I’m asking myself. I’m sure finding those answers will be a long journey, but at least I’m trying.
Much love to you all,
P.S. The best set of resources I’ve found so far online to help me explore what it means to be anti-racist and a white ally comes from a local Madison business. Check that out if you, like me, feel like a salad is a start but nearly enough.
P.P.S. The photo below showcases both this simple spring salad alongside another amazing recipe I developed for Edible Madison. Check out the pizza recipe here.
SIMPLE SPRING SALAD
Takes 20 minutes
1 bunch radishes
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 lemon, squeezed
1 head lettuce, washed and roughly chopped
1/2 cup toasted pistachios, finely chopped
1/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Flaky sea salt, optional
- Remove the greens from your radishes and trim the ends. Thinly slice half of the radishes and quarter the rest. Toss in a small bowl with salt and lemon juice. Gently massage to incorporate the salt and lemon into the radishes. Let sit for at least 10 minutes.
- Wash and roughly chop the lettuce and place in a large bowl. Sprinkle with half the pistachios and Parmesan, and then drizzle with half the olive oil. Top with the marinated radishes and all their liquid. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil then sprinkle with the remaining pistachios and Parmesan. Finish with a little flaky sea salt.