Food and nature have played significant roles in shaping who I am today. As a little kid I would spend full days outside. When I wasn’t jumping the fence to explore the forest that surrounded our property, I was barefoot wandering around our small but mighty garden of home-grown goodies picking out what we were going to make for dinner. The time stood still. Still enough for me to analyze the webs of spiders, collect small rocks as treasures and to follow the paths slugs made around the yard to their next meal. Time outside and close to nature filled my days, although I never needed an agenda.
Hiking and camping with friends and family became a pillar of each summer and the delicious meals we would make together over the open fire quickly became the highlight of each trip. When I got older my world got bigger and I started exploring the globe as a traveler, never losing touch with my two constants, food and nature. Whether I was exploring rural Mexico or headed to down a windy Andalusian street for classes at a Spanish university, I found that my most meaningful lessons came from preparing and sharing meals with locals, and learning about the tradition behind the food – as well as how to best uphold them, from both a cultural and environmental standpoint.
My life and career have merged into a shared purpose giving meaning to my days. I strive to preserve and promote local foodways and culinary heritage through the development of community based tourism and to open people’s eyes to the wonders of the world’s gastronomy while observing and preserving culture, customs and the planet. I love working in Food Tourism, Culinary Heritage, and Destination Development as they merge my passions: food, nature and travel. It is important to me that these things are all perpetuated for future generations.
By Jane Connelly, 20 October 2021