Self Care? How About Community Care

Words and Photos:: Kieran Brownie

As we pack and prepare for our coming winters perhaps it is a good time to consider what we can do to give back to our community, the people we share the South Coast with, those who may not have the privilege to kick off the burden of the modern world and retreat to the mountains, let alone enjoy the standard of diet most of us have come to expect.

And let’s be honest, as mountain travelers a lot of us make sacrifices when we do cast off.. We leave behind the nutritional value of fresh food for “energy” bars and a variety of other awful calories that are quick and easy to make. Why? Because making food takes time and energy that could be used for something better, like hiking that extra run or sending your next pitch. After all; we are but intricate machines that rely on the process of reducing complex carbs into simple sugars. Though –just as in any pursuit- we must remember to think of “how” we go about satisfying our desires or needs. We all end up at the same destination, we’re all made of the same parts, so what difference could this make?


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Skier heading into the backcountry
You get what you put in. Food can be quantified by calories or it can simply be the vehicle that bring people together during the dark winter months in the Coast Mountains.

Well; I can only speak from my own observations and though it seems our actions are insignificant, actions give meaning to our lives, if we are careful and intentional with our actions each move we make is a move in the right direction. One move I would like you to consider this season is what your impact is, as a human who enjoys recreating in the backcountry; not only a human, but a living being, one who needs to eat. Last winter some friends began preparing homemade energy bars for our expeditions, dense and delicious nuggets of fuel, best of all we could leave the places we love without a pocket full of garbage. I think our biggest impact from these trips was the amount of paper wrapping from the incredulous number of cheese wheels we humped into the mountains because, well we love cheese and we believe it is of upmost importance to enjoy the things that mean the most to us when we go to the mountains. Every step we made with the extra weight of that cheese enhanced the experience of even the smallest morsel of frozen brie, gave it meaning because it was now linked with our story.


Cooking up a backcountry meal
As we make our way into the mountains this season let’s consider how we are fuelling our pursuits..

This is not a paid advertisement but I would like to mention Vancouver based Nomad Nutrition here; they have been around since early 2017 and have started a new wave of thought for how we carry food in the backcountry, something I consider constantly. They have adapted a process that takes less time and less energy than standard dehydration methods and has found a way to maintain the nutritional value of the ingredients they use (all of which uphold the standard of excellence us West Coasters expect of our meals).

This fall they have kicked off a new program called Food for Everyone, an opportunity for the outdoor community to give back a little during the holiday season but more importantly an opportunity to provide our local charities with real food that can benefit growing children over the winter break, in a way that canned goods or other standard non-perishables cannot. Currently the program is open till Dec 15th 2018 and the minimum donation is 1 meal for $5.00 CAD, the team at Nomad is working hard to bring the cost down to allow a broader range of donations but the balance of quality/cost is the crux. Basically at the moment the deal is buy 2, get 1 (give 1), but $5 is nothing! It is less than .005% of your new skis, .027% of a 1 day W/B lift ticket or .0002% of that new Arc’teryx jacket.. Another way to look at it is if you made a batch of homemade bars, you would save waay more than that $5 by not buying 10 x $4 bars and wham-bam there ya go, a little back to our community and a little extra cash in your pocket, almost paradoxical isn’t it?


A snowed in hut with friends
Consider the words of Immanuel Kant, an 18th century german philosopher(and one of the central figures of modern philosophy), when he suggested we must “act as if the thing we are doing will be done by everyone”.

But; this isn’t about the money, let’s consider the meaning you will have given to this one meal: you are surrounded by your friends during the annual Xmas hut trip, you pull this small package of food out of your bag and bring it into the circle -but unlike the instant noodles your buddy grabbed at the stupermart, in a hurry as he dashed from work to the hills- your meal will bring a story with it. You might mention that this package of food allowed someone else to enjoy a meal, your friends might pick up on this and something interesting and unique might flow from the all too ordinary event that is feeding ourselves, who knows where it will take the conversation. “Food for Everyone” is a great cause and if giving money is possible for you, it is one of the only methods that ensures 100% of dollars donated = food in the hands of those who need it. More importantly; whether you donate money or not, consider giving meaning to even the smallest details of this holiday season, every swish of your ski-tips breaking trail on an early winter morning, every laugh shared with friends, every moment spent with family, for it is the darkest part of the year and we all need to stick together.

To check out the campaign, pick up meals for your next trip, or donate please visit: