Stacks Image 654

Tim and Jessica built their relationship around the communion of food, especially local food: growing it, cooking it and enjoying it together. Day in and day out they’ve come to enjoy the quiet moments over a freshly brewed cup of Dean’s Beans coffee and local eggs on homemade bread. They head off to their respective jobs doing yeoman’s work as educators and stewards in their community. Tim is a high school English teacher and coach in a low-income community and Jessica is a Registered Dietitian who works for a national anti-hunger non-profit that seeks to teach families how to make healthy and affordable meals.  But each night, they return home to a kitchen table where they share a bottle of local wine or beer and prepare a recipe made from as many recognizable local ingredients as possible.
They seek to find foods that nourish their bodies, provide a palatable culinary experience and support the food system in which they are eaten. Jessica knew Tim was “the one” when she directed the creation of a new community garden in her home community and Tim obligingly offered to be the farmhand who worked for free without complaint, staking out garden plots, tilling soil, and weeding when necessary.  Which was often.  Tim’s payment for his blood and sweat was all the zucchini he could stomach.     
Their food adventures and shenanigans are documented on Jessica’s food and health blog: A Fete For  If you check the posts on a lucky day, you might even find a guest post from Tim, praising his now-famous beef stew.  This website helps to get the word out on the local food movement in central Massachusetts, which is currently somewhat starved for momentum.  A momentum that together they are hoping to accelerate by sharing their story.
Their relationship has grown just like their interest and passion in their local food system. They know their local farmers and food purveyors and seek to create community around food in the place they live. Fresh, local food has become their love’s roots and their unique shade of green, a shade akin to the hue of dinosaur kale.
They envision a wedding that celebrates their love of local food, friends, family, and each other.

1. Explore the parallel between your commitment to each other and to the Earth? How does green living play a part in your lives together? How would you describe your unique shade of green?

Our commitment to each other and the Earth is very symbolic in that our relationship is based on communication and understanding. Just as with an interpersonal relationship, our relationship with the Earth should be based on communication. We communicate with the Earth in everything that we do, both good and bad. Obviously we don’t have an actual conversation with the Earth, but the Earth does speak to us, and it speaks to us in various ways.
One of the ways in which the Earth speaks to us and defines our specific shade of kale green, is through the growing of plants and food. This nonverbal communication is evident in how things grow, especially in our community garden. If the plants were given enough water, sun and soil in which to thrive, they rewarded us with wonderful, rich, nourishing food. If they weren’t cared for because of one reason or another, or weren’t given suitable conditions, they would whither and die or not grow at all. This communication is both vital for our survival as a species and individually in our relationship for our unique shade of green.
Our shade of kale green is based on eating the best, most local and organic food we can possibly find or grow ourselves. All of these components are important to our relationship due to the fact that we try to cook together as frequently as our hectic schedules allow. This time allows us to be together and reflect on our various experiences of the day and is a staple of our relationship. Food to us is meaningful, enjoyable, and something to be savored rather than rushed. All of this would not be possible with out the communication first with the Earth.

2. As a couple, how would you define your inspirational green message? Tell us your story. How might your story inspire others?

Our inspirational story would be one based on change and dedication. During our relationship, we were forced to face some unique situations that might have forced others to give up and move on.
One of these instances served as an immensely positive change in our relationship. Jessica was blessed enough to earn an internship at the University of California San Francisco. While this sounds wonderful, it is also over three thousand miles away. And as a teacher, Tim was not blessed with the finances to travel as much as he would like. While this could have been the kiss of death for another couple, we stayed true to each other and put in the extra effort to make it work for over a year. Tim would fly out to visit when he could afford it, and Jess would fly home when she could. We were dedicated to each other, and our relationship grew because of this effort.

Our shade of green developed during these trips to the West coast. Each time Tim would visit Jessica, we made it a point to go to the Farmers Market at the pier in San Francisco. Because of these frequent trips, our commitment to fresh and local food was encouraged. This spark would develop into a vital part of our relationship moving forward as we began to grow our own food, shop with our local farmers and cook more frequently. These meals that we cooked became the gateway to our communication and growth as a couple.
Ultimately, we would say that we owe a large part of our happiness to those nights spent together cooking fresh and delicious meals that were made with ingredients grown by local farmers. The recipe for happiness is easy: support your local farmers, cook together and live happily ever after! At least that is how our story played out…

3. What are your thoughts for an Earth Day event/celebration at Clay Hill Farm and how would you promote it?

Our shade of green reflects our commitment to fresh and local food and the communion around the kitchen table that results. In order to celebrate Earth Day, we would love to host a potluck dinner. We would ask guests to bring a dish that reflects their own community’s food culture or local specialties.
This dinner would ideally promote the purchase and creation of homemade food prepared with local ingredients grown and processed by farmers and food artisans. In 2009 and 2010, I worked as the food coordinator for the Northeast Organic Farming Association’s Winter Conference. We hosted a 450-person potluck lunch. There was quite a bit of coordination keeping hot foods hot, cold foods cold, making sure everything had a serving spoon, cleaning up messes, washing dishes and flatware that people brought to eat off of (less waste!) but most of all, making sure everyone enjoyed the food and each other’s company. This potluck, for some, was the reason to attend the conference. With this experience under my belt, I feel we could orchestrate an Earth Day potluck that showcases local food and provides a space for individuals wanting to come together to share a meal with each other.
Tim and I both have social media experience (Twitter, Facebook) and because of my unique position as a community nutritionist, we are connected with many like-minded organizations and people in New England. We feel, by using this network, we could spread the word to thousands of New Englanders about this event.