Thursday, June 24, 2010

5 Questions with Sara Klimes

I think it's safe to say that anyone who reads this blog probably has some sort of interest in local food, urban agriculture, or food security in general. But how many of us actually know someone who is actually studying the topic, or working towards making change in our food system by planning a career around it? Never met a Food Security student? Well, until a few weeks ago, neither had I until I came across Sara Klimes.

Originally from Vancouver Island, Sara is a passionate, articulate young lady with a desire to delve deeply into the world of food, one issue at a time. A healthy vegetarian, she makes a conscious effort to grow as much of her own food at home as possible and enjoys preserving tomatoes and making jams. Like myself, Sara is also a "disciple" of the great Michael Pollan. I asked Sara if she'd share a bit about her passion for food issues by answering 5 Questions:

After the Harvest (ATH): Can you explain to me exactly what your program is called and why you chose it?

Sara Klimes (SK): I am doing a Masters in Globalization and International Development, with a focus on Food Security and Urban Agriculture. I decided to come to Ottawa U and do this program because I have this need to understand the world so I can do my part to help change it. Especially interesting to me is the power imbalance in the world, and food issues definitely illustrate this imbalance.

ATH: Why urban agriculture?

SK: I read about Cuba and learned that they have some of the best urban agriculture in the world. They developed their food systems out of necessity because of their history as a nation, but they have public seed banks and cooperatives and a vibrant local food scene. Can you believe Canada doesn't even have a food security policy? It is good to know people are working to change this, but we really need to be proactive about our food system, not reactive.

Photo Credit: Flickr user sheralooma

ATH: Besides food issues, do you have any other passions?

SK: Yes -- dance! I love ballet and modern, and I've even started teaching a hip hop class on campus.

ATH: What would you say is your favourite ingredient to use while cooking?

SK: Definitely onions, usually Spanish onions. I find a way to incorporate onions into almost every meal.

ATH: What are your favourite food-related books?

SK: Michael Pollan books, especially In Defense of Food and Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Vegetable Miracle.

Wow -- everyone is telling me to read that Barbara Kingsolver book! So stay tuned to After the Harvest, as I am sure I'll get around to discussing it with all of you once I get my hands on it. It's great to meet like-minded people, especially those with a passion for food. To top it all off, Sara was even sporting a custom made tee shirt (green, of course) that touted Michael Pollan's famous maxim: "Eat Food. Not too much. Mostly Plants." I look forward to seeing what Sara does in the future to help shape our food systems and policies, but in the meantime, I'm happy to hear her tales of canning tomatoes and backyard gardening. Thank you, Sara!


  1. So very funny- I just met Sarah on Tuesday night at an urban livestock policy writing team- we're working together to get hens in the yards of Ottawa!
    And you really do need to read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle- it's great!

  2. I loved Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. It made me want to make my own cheese. A fantastic read.