Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Crepes and Container Farming

Gordon Foods

Last week I was supposed to go on a mini tour of a place called Feeding America. It’s a nationwide organization that, according to the tour teaser in the senior hall newsletter says it, “reclaims large amounts of surplus food from farmers and retailers and manufacturers, redistributing it to their network of roughly 900 hunger-relief agencies.” I canceled my RSVP which means I lost my six bucks for the mini bus ride but I don’t care. They had a long waiting list so my cancellation made someone happy. I got over booked through no fault of my own. Since I signed up for the mini tour, the CCC where I’m moving invited its future residents like me to a crepe breakfast and I also had plans to go to an annual Art in the Park fair on Saturday. I just couldn’t take three days in a row for socializing and stay on my downsizing schedule. Winter is coming and I won't be able to work in the garage, aka e-Bay Center, much longer. So I opted out of the mini tour in favor of building relationships with my future neighbors.

The crepe breakfast was something else! The chefs from the CCC made four different kind---a spinach crepe with basal, a chicken alfredo, an eggs scramble and a dessert crepe, in mini sizes so we could try them all. They sourced all the herbs and vegetables out of their campus gardens. This time there were only nine of us there who’ve already paid our deposit down on a unit and about 25 others who are still in the investigative stages of making their decision. 

The CEO of the entire non-profit organization that is building this place and runs their other campuses and I had a great conversation afterward. I wanted to know more details about the process of qualifying me, specifically are they absolutely sure I’ll have enough money to live there for the rest of my life. The bottom line is: Yes, it’s a thorough process of doing the math on their part factoring in my banking, income and health profiles. “Obviously, we hope and believe you won’t run out of money but you have our promise of continuing care if you do.” I also, learned there is a new twist to their planned fourth building on the campus. That building which would have been my main view is now a planned green space for the next 12-15 years. Levi---the tree peeing machine---and I are elated with that news. It will probably also give me more north light for painting. That lack of a view was the only thing I was dreading with the move but it was offset by the fact that I could get to the lake and a wooded trail within a two-three minute walk from my door. Now there is no trade-off and I couldn't be happier. The final building approval and permits from the city also happened this week. Progress! October will bring a ground breaking party.

The crepe breakfast was held at the corporate headquarters of Gordon Foods. I mention the name because they have foods distribution facilities in fourteen states and several places in Canada. If you’re in an area serviced by them, chances are you’ve eaten their foods. They supply restaurants with a wide variety of pantry goods, frozen and fresh foods including deli salads and desserts. They also have 175 retail outlets where people doing foods for weddings, large parties and schools can go in and shop. I knew their headquarters was in a near-by town but I had no idea of how large this privately held place is! It's almost a city block long, not including food preparation and distribution---those facilities are at different locations. This "green-built" building is 384,000 square feet with 11,662 square feet of the roof planted with vegetation. 40% of their outdoor acreage is kept open to native trees, grasses and shrubs to help preserve wildlife habitats. In one area of their campus where they do container farming they grow 55,000 pounds of pesticide-free herbs annually. This place is amazing and I've barely shared from the two page list of innovated ways this building and campus are constructed to lessen its impact on the environment including they have 400 feet deep geothermal wells that store summer-time heat to be released back into the building in the winter.

We watched three chefs make crepes and talk food in a huge kitchen/meeting space at Gordon Foods. Its primary use is for classes and seminars to train young people on how to be successful indoor container gardeners/farmers to supply food services, local restaurants and farmers markets---the next-generation of farming is local sourcing, they said. Everything that was old is new again and I'm thinking of my mother-in-law who every day walked into town to sell eggs to the local grocery store. I still own her egg basket...but I digress. Their literature says that the average age of farmers in America is 58 years old, which doesn’t bode well for keeping our farms from being absorbed into and controlled by large, foreign factory farms (think China). I don’t know about you, but it made me feel good to know that a successful family-run business like Gordon Foods is so forward looking. And I didn’t need to go on the Feeding America tour to find out that they donate millions of pounds of product annually to food pantries, homeless shelters and missions in all their locations. I love a day when fun and educational information comes strolling into my life hand-in-hand.  ©

click on the chart to enlarge

20 comments:

  1. Wow. Gordon Foods should pay you for this post!

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    1. I was so impressed by this place, I could have written another 1,000 words. It was built seven years ago and is by far the most environmentally responsibly built place I've ever been in.

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  2. I see Gordon Foods trucks around Toronto all the time.

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  3. Wow, this was impressive. This was an impressive day/place. Yes, I am commenting as normal because today IE is allowing it to work. Oh heavens!

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    1. I don't know what IE is but I'm glad it's friendly to you today. (I'm terrible with initials.)

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  4. Wow, they are not just doing a few things right but everything right. Great choice. Think I will Google them.

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    1. It would be a great place to work. Outdoor meeting places surrounded with nature, A 3/4 mile walking trail for employees, showers and workout room, an easy bike connection to a system of trails that go all over that all over the country for those who want to bike to work and, of course, bike racks. Water bottle refilling stations to cut down on disposal bottles. Recycling. The list goes on.

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  5. Gosh it is good to be wooed! Especially with food! What a great company to be associated with ... love when corporations care about the earth. You picked the best place ever!

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    1. I think I did. The chefs plan on having their own gardens on our campus and if any of us want our own raised garden bed we can have them too, or help with the kitchen gardens, if we want. Their menu at the restaurants are going to change every three months and there will be a daily dish not on the menu. So far, I've loved all the food we get served and they serve food at all our meetings.

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  6. Wow, what a perfect day! And such good news about your view.

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    1. It sure is good news. I had a hard time deciding between a unit with a view or easy access to the places to walk the dog. He won out but now I'll have both.

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  7. This sounds like a deluxe place for sure. Do you have to be in good health in order to qualify for initial entrance? I am 74 and at an age when I need to make plans.

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    1. I don't think so. But you do have to be able to maintain yourself in independent living with the option of occasional home health care, if needed. There are couples who are buying units who one will go in Memory Care and one in an independent living unit. They'll be living a couple of blocks apart but can socialize as back and forth. This place is non-profit which gives you a lot more bang for your buck. I looked at other Continuum Care Campuses but this one seems acceptational for less money than the other for profit places. Do your homework, take tours. Finding this one took me several years. But you don't know the goods ones if you've seen the others.

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  8. That's really fascinating about Gordon foods. I'm sure we must have similar companies down here (I know that I see Sysco trucks running around a lot) but I'm not sure any are as engaged with their communities and forward looking. They may be, of course; I just haven't paid any attention.

    I'm really pleased about that news about your view. Giving up my view is the single thing that distresses me about my own downsizing, but there we are. I'll probably be looking out at a parking lot rather than the water and sky. Sigh and double sigh. But, I've figured out that if I take a second floor place, that will help -- and until I actually see what's available later this year, there's no use reacting to what I'm imagining. Reality could be quite different.

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    1. I really hope there are more businesses building with the environmental impact in mind. It was quite an eye-opener, especially considering it was built in 2012.

      The CCC sold out on the 3rd floor quickly and those who picked them did it for the view. The only way I could have gotten a water view was to buy a two bedroom instead of a one bedroom and a study. (The study is half the size of a bedroom.) They put the cheaper units facing away from the lake. All of us with dogs seem to have picked the ground floor, but I'd still pick it for fire safety and convenience even if I didn't have a dog.

      If anything would have made me back out of moving, once I see the finished building it would have been the view. So I'm really happy that is no longer a factor in the back of my mine. The gym in this place is across the lobby from my unit and that has a glass wall overlooking the lake...reason to work out. LOL

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  9. Very interesting. The crepe breakfast sounds to die for. I love crepes. And while I know Gordon Foods well, I didn't know it THAT well. Well done and good for them. I love hearing that.

    Three cheers about your new view! That will be terrific and I know you and Levi will love it! I'm really glad you'll have that view. Sounds lovely -- and like they are doing it right.

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    1. I don't go to Gordon Foods retail outlet often but from now on I'm going to feel good about supporting a company like that.

      The CEO said they are looking into keeping that green space permanent instead of just the 12-15 years by building the forth building on the other side of green space, so it will be like a town square when the place is completed. I'm happy.

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  10. This is wonderful to read. Both your plans and how Gordon Foods is contributing to green space and doing good. I've never heard of Continuum Care Campuses and am interested in knowing more. Will go research-- not for now, but a good thing to know about. Thanks.

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    1. I started writing about the Continuum Care Campus or facility some places call them in June. My June 12th post explains quite a lot about how they work but there were two more before that one on the topic and my decision making process.

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