I graduated with a PhD in English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University, where I still teach within the English department and in the Sustainable Futures Program. I was born in the Ukraine and grew up in Winnipeg, where my interest in food was sparked by early experiences watching my mother and grandmother make perogies the old fashioned way. I grew up with a garden and never quite understood the relationship between that thing they call a tomato in the grocery store, and the garden-fresh, misshapen jewels that gave up their juice so easily when still warmed by the sun.
As a graduate student, I decided to channel this interest in food into the very heart of my research. I began by plunging head-first into the 100-mile diet for one year. In the process, I learned how to pickle, ferment, and celebrate the seasons by preserving. I completed an internship on an organic farm, learned how to grow food in ways that heal the soil, and lovingly tended a jar of sourdough that is now almost a decade old. These experiences form the backbone of my book, The Politics of the Pantry, which explores how the local and sustainable food movement can become the cornerstone of a more rational and sustainable way of life. Recently, I started Common Ground, a teaching farm that has declared a war on the lawn and hopes to build bridges between the country and the city by helping people to grow and preserve food.
I am excited to work with the Halton Food Council as Community Food Network Manager and help develop the sustainable food system within the region.
I believe that too many of us have lost the joys of preparing for winter, of squirreling away and sharing, and finding ways to transform decay into delicacy. Some of our most delicious foods – cured meats, cheeses, miso, pickles, beer and wine – emerged out of the necessity to juggle the seasons, to accommodate nature’s bounty when it arrives, and to plan for her coming miserliness.
Contact me: michaelmikulak @ yahoo.ca (remove spaces)