Clean Shores, Healthy Living: A Tribe of Ocean Lovers & Food Pioneers

We had a chance to catch up with Shani Cranston, pioneer behind hOMe Grown Living Foods, following her arrival home from the annual Surfrider Remote Beach Clean up. Along with a tribe of 15, Shani shared 3 days of her time on the wild West Coast to help rid the beaches of plastic marine debris. Captain Lyle Berzins organized this motley crew of rookie sailors who departed from Port Hardy and navigated them toward Port Alexander at the south east tip of Nigei Island. Shani’s role on the voyage was that of camp cook and she was tasked with nourishing the intrepid voyagers as they set forth on their ‘good work’ mission. The group filled an impressive 23 super sacs, which were then towed to Port Hardy. A truck volunteered by Kingsley Trucking of Coombs transported the debris to a mainland warehouse run by the Ocean Legacy Foundation where the plastic will be recycled.

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Preparing wholesome nourishing food fit for an off-grid journey required some planning ahead, and a certain amount of flexibility, which Shani is equipped with, having founded Milagro Retreats in 2002, that led her to cater for surf and yoga retreats around the globe. For Shani, this beach clean-up was heart-warming and re-inspired her hopes for collective humanity.

Seeing these people show up and form a tribe in the name of an environmental cause with a deep underlying mission to make our oceans and earth a better place”, is the kind of fuel Shani thrives on to inspire her own brand of Whole Food entrepreneurship hOMe Grown Living Foods.

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Over the years Shani has collaborated with many other local innovators, yet she is still amazed to see how a small inspired group of people who share a common mission can affect major change. Shani extended her collaborative approach to menu planning for the event, introducing the tribe to some of her favourite local, organic and ethically sourced products from colleagues like Gathering Place Trading and Singing Bowl Granola, who also donated foods to the cause.

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Shani’s ability to adapt the menu to the season and environment meant she was able to incorporate on-site, fresh caught wild salmon and foraged mushrooms. Shani always incorporates hOMe Grown Living Foods ingredients into meals with a local and seasonal focus. Her Farm to Table catering approach is inspired by the foods readily available from her Lake Cowichan homestead. Along with the pre-made frozen meals (prepared in the hOMe Grown commercial kitchen), Shani used greens, tomatoes and cucumbers harvested from the hOMe Grown gardens.

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Shani’s experience setting up an outdoor kitchen can be an inspiration to other day trippers, adventurists and campers looking for culinary tips for their next excursion. Just like in many homes, the camp kitchen becomes the gathering hub where ideas and conversations are sparked. Camping and day tripping doesn’t have to equal lots of packaged and processed foods, but can be an extension of a wholesome whole food kitchen with some creative planning and preparation.

“Shani’s food was nourishing, but it was also very nutritious. The volunteers who Shani fed commented several times on how one bowl of her cuisine was all they needed until the next meal. Others noticed they felt better, had more energy and felt super healthy. Overall - Amazing” - David Boudinot of Surfrider

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To gather some of the recipes that Shani used for the Surfrider beach clean-up, visit the hOMe Grown blog. We’ve chosen one of the favourite meals of the trip to feature here.

NORI ROLLS
Makes 15 Rolls

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 package of soba noodles (cooked according to directions) OR Keep it RAW with kelp noodles

  • 2 carrots, julienne

  • 1/2 jicama (or local zucchini), julienne

  • 1 cucumber, julienne

  • 1 red pepper, julienne

  • 4 stalks green onion, minced

  • 2 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

  • 2 Tbsp tamari or nama shoyu

  • 4 Tbsp rice vinegar

  • 1 Tbsp pickled ginger, minced

  • 1/2 cup cashews, toasted

  • 1/2 cup cilantro, minced

  • 1/4 cup Turmeric Pumpkin Hemp MUNCHeez

  • 15 sheets of toasted nori

  • 15 rice paper wrappers

MINDFUL PREPARATION

1. Cook soba noodles OR cover kelp noodles with boiling water and allow to soften for 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Chop with scissors to make into bite size pieces.
2. Combine noodles with remaining ingredients and toss to thoroughly combine.
3. Set up your working station with a bowl of warm water and a clean surface to roll.
4. Place one rice paper at a time in warm water for 15-20 seconds, until soft.
5. Place softened paper on surface and cover with a sheet of nori.
6. Take 1/4 cup of noodle mixture and place in the bottom half of the nori. Leave an inch of space at the bottom and sides of the nori, fold over the mixture, fold the sides in and roll into burritos.

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For those who are keen to get involved, there are monthly beach clean-ups in various locations. People can practice being an effective catalyst for ocean health everyday in their own world by modeling small but important changes and sharing with their family, friends and co-workers.

It can be as simple as changing a regularly purchased item because it uses too much non-reusable plastic, joining the “Straws Suck” campaign like 10 Acres restaurant group, choosing reusable bags, to-go cups, plates, bowls and cutlery. There is hope for our oceans and environment when people come together to enact positive change. You know what ‘they’ say… Be the Change!

Fact Sheet:
Surfriders’ mission is to protect our oceans, waves and beaches through a powerful activist network. Surfrider is formed by a group of paddlers, surfers, students, teachers, professionals, young and old. Together, Surfrider is is working to keep Vancouver Island a special place.

On this remote beach clean-up an entire semi-truck trailer of trash was removed from the beaches of Nigei island.

Photo credits Brave Art Media

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