Early Fall is one of my favorite times of the year. Harvest is happening all around us here in the valley and leaves are beginning to brighten the landscape in all sorts of colorful hues. This time of mellow fruitfulness always gives me moments of gratitude for the bounty surrounding me, and for the generosity and loyalty of the Rawsome Creations extended family. Your support for our products warms my heart. Without you, none of our work would be possible. Thank you for your kind words, heartfelt comments, and glowing reviews. We are humbled and in immense gratitude to each of you.
Another Autumn tradition: I have just returned from BaliFall and my annual visit with our Balinese charities, Bumi Sehat Birthing Center and Yayasan Widya Guna Orphanage, and with the Rawsome production team. This year good friends Mary-Margaret and Makiko joined me as first time visitors to Bali. Traveling to a beloved and often-visited place with friends who have never been always provides a special perspective and renewed appreciation (while offsetting somewhat the constant shock of progress and development.) They dove right in, joining me in visits with the team, suppliers, and especially our charities, bringing items impossible to find in Indonesia, taking wonderful pictures, and enjoying each and every moment. Mary-Margaret served as the official Rawsome photographer, and provides us with wonderful images of our team hard at work, and of our special friends at the charities. Look for these albums on our Facebook page.
Nothing compares to meeting with the Rawsome team members face to face. Seeing their care and attention and the love they have for each other and our business is heartwarming. I am proud to tell each of them about all of you who appreciate their work and reward us all with continued support throughout the year. Each of you help us help real people every day with your purchases.
From all of us to each of you -- Terima Kesih (Thank YOU -- in Balinese).
For years, in response to requests from my stalwart supporters, I have been seeking nearby charities that fit my areas of concern: nutrition education and children. While there are many, many deserving nonprofits, and there never seems to be enough donations, I want to focus our charitable work where it does the best work, and so I have put a lot of energy and thought into the search. Recently, I have settled on two projects, and am pleased to present them to you here:
I looked around for quite awhile for an organization which combined my love of food, education and children and was inspired to find Life Lab in Santa Cruz and Watsonville. I love the idea of "30 minutes of mandated dirt time" for the classroom! Starting in 1979, Life Lab pioneered getting school children into the garden to make friends with their natural food sources. Their influence on the Real Food for Children movement reaches far beyond their two acre garden classroom ... but that's where the hands actually get dirty: staffers work and play with children of all ages, focusing on garden education from soil to table. Children participate in school field trips, summer camps, and internships. At their website, www.lifelab.org, teachers from around the world find garden resources, curriculum assistance, consultations, and professional development for training our future farmers and nutrition leaders.
So many children here in California have family members who harvest and work the land every lighted moment of each day. It's an honor to help them gain an early appreciation for the special contribution their families share with all of us. It feels right to help disadvantaged children attend this very popular weekday "fun-in-the-garden" program. The experience changes forever the relationship between the smallest "sprouts" (ages 4-7 years old) and the food, insects, bees and weeds encountered in the garden. That's where the magic starts.
There are many other similar local programs, and I encourage you to check your local school district to find out what they're doing along these lines ...and help them get started if they're lagging. But for Rawsome Creations, Life Lab's 37 year headstart and continuing enthusiasm is the deciding factor. Our support of this program has already begun.
Ceres Community Project, based just over the hill in Sebastopol, California, is our second local charity, and a long time favorite. I met Cathryn Couch, the Ceres Community Project founder several years ago when I began healing from my own bout with cancer. I was immediately thrilled by her concept of training teens to create healthy meals and offering those meals for free on a weekly basis to clients in their community battling health challenges. Involving young people as volunteer gardeners and chefs, giving them hands-on experience from farm to table with nutrient-dense, fresh, healthy foods, then providing these healthy meals to people within their communities who are battling health challenges strikes me as a resoundingly all-around winning combination that deserves our support.
An essential element of both of these programs in replicability -- outreach. The Ceres Community Project provides a free Start-Up Tool Kit that helps communities around the country start their own programs ... programs that are already running in eleven communities, including Bay Village Ohio, Geneva Illinois, and Santa Cruz.
Many of you will remember that Robin Lim, founder of our long-time favorite charity Bumi Sehat, won the 2011 CNN Hero of the Year award. This year, the Ceres Project's Cathryn Couch (mentioned above) is one of the 25 finalists for this coveted award. Top 10 winners will be announced in October and the public voting begins. You will be able to vote daily so stay tuned to our Facebook posts and we'll share with you how to place your votes. Go, Cathryn and the Ceres Project!
Since I am always seeking out health foods stores, farmers markets, co-ops, and kitchen stores in far flung destinations, I am pleased to report that Rawsome Creations More Than a Nut Milk Bags have been spotted in such diverse places as City Market in Burlington, Vermont, Westerly Natural Market in New York City, in use in the kitchen at Moksa restaurant, recently voted #1 restaurant in Bali, and at Alchemy and Juice Ja Cafes in Ubud village. Further afield, the bags are now available in the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, France, and Germany. Be on the look out for the bags in your neighborhood, snap a picture, and join us in our Instragram posts "Where in the World is the More than a Nut Milk Bag?" Follow us @Rawsome_Creations on Instagram (#MoreThanaNutMilkBag) and post your picture with the name of the store, cafe, or location.
Email the picture to me along with your address and I'll send you a new bag for playing along.
Longtime friend and colleague Chef Made Runatha has opened his long awaited restaurant Moksa in Ubud, Bali. Watching his dream grow from raw land to a beautiful hillside open air café surrounded by a permaculture garden, two years in the making and growing daily has been a wonderful experience for me. Chef Made is my favorite chef in all the world with his attention to flavors and richness of the plant-based cuisine that enlivens every bite. Sharing at his table for many years I have come to appreciate his heart-centered belief that food is medicine. It is a joy to finally witness him in his own restaurant in his homeland. Combining raw and lightly cooked foods Chef Made brings lightness and a flavorful option to local cuisine. Recently awarded #1 restaurant in Bali, and they've only been open 8 months, it was worth the time and short walk. I went three times in one week when visiting Bali this year. I will go back again every trip. Moksa is in the up-and-coming Penenstanan area of Ubud, not too far from Alchemy -- another local plant-based café that has doubled in size in the past year.
The garden is waning as the Fall days get shorter and the last vestiges of zucchini, pepper, and cucumbers are brought into the kitchen. I'm enjoying a Veggie Bonanza version of a simple Kale Salad tonight and adding all of the veggies I found on my morning rounds in the garden.
I travel often and being vegan, predominately raw, never expect my hosts, hotel rooms, or locations to have what I might need for mealtime, especially breakfast. This traveling cereal mix has become one of my favorites. Easy to make ahead of time, stores well my luggage for trips of any length, and a solid basis for a satisfying breakfast. Simply add filtered water and fresh fruit, and I'm good to go! I'm often asked by friends -- "what are you eating?" -- and when they taste it, they end up sharing, so I always pack extra to share along the way.
As many of you know, I've been on a food adventure for the past ten years: awakening to the connection between what I eat and how I feel....
We invite you to connect with us and share your kitchen adventures. Please like Rawsome Creations on Facebook or follow @Rawsome_Creations on Instagram for contests, ideas, and updates. Just use #MoreThanaNUTMILKBAG on Instagram and @Rawsome_Creations will follow you and re-post. Get pinning with Rawsome Creations' boards on Pinterest.