Thank you Daniel Hoffmann and Jane Hayes for all the good they do for our community, and for sharing this interview about my work and passion for kind food. Originally published on hoffmannhayes.com here.
In this Food Makers & Changers interview, we get to know Lisa Borden of Borden Communications!
Lisa Borden created Borden Communications, a highly passionate, hyper-focused, common-sense business development + marketing firm in Toronto in 1994.
As a founding Canadian B Corp, Lisa and her small team specialize in business development and marketing communications for leading and start-up conscious brands, and personalities, and use transparent strategies for brand management and socially responsible messaging with proven success.
She takes great pride in working with motivated people to start, scale-up, re-define, develop and promote business with a conscious awareness of our rapidly changing world. Lisa provides sound advice, perspectives, stories (of failures and successes), practical wisdom, and most importantly the solutions that you will be able to use to succeed on your own terms, within your timelines and budgets.
Some of Lisa’s favourite titles include: Strategist + Catalyst, mother of 3, Enthusiastic Philanthropist, Inspiration Agent, and Wannabe Organic Farmer.
What is one change you’d like to see happen within the food system and why?
One change? It’s so challenging to isolate one single thing since everything is interconnected, but, I truly would like to see transparency from farmers and food producers. If as consumers/shoppers/eaters we were clear about what we were choosing to eat, I think we would make much smarter, more informed decisions and I do think that this one change would really bring about many other important ones.
If you could only have three vegetables for the rest of your life, what would they be and why?
Again, how restrictive are these questions for someone who loves creativity and variety in everything?! Cauliflower, which I think is a highly underrated vegetable – it’s great raw as “rice”, roasted, in soup, for dipping, battering and so much more – it’s versatile, it can be prepared to be creamy and rich or light, crunchy and raw. Kale, because it’s my favourite thing to grow, super hearty and kale chips, both dehydrated and baked are one of my favourite eats. Garlic, because your Global Garlic Project inspires me to no end. I would have never known how many varieties there were if it weren’t for you, Daniel – it’s medicinal and delicious, and it finds its way into almost every dish I make.
What has been your most meaningful and rewarding work to date?
If you could only have one non-local food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Coconuts or avocados. I will get back to you on this
Where do you stand on local vs organic vs simply eating whole foods? What are your personal priorities when it comes to your own diet?
I cannot stand this debate, as ideally we should be eating locally, strictly from organic growers. I know that local lettuce is better than from far away, but I would (and do) support the organic farmer that is further away, rather than a local lettuce grown with pesticides and poor soil, if those are my only two options. We vote with every dollar we spend, and I have no intention of supporting local farmers who spray/pollute our ecosystem – and our food system. http://bordencom.com/home/2013/04/local-vs-organic/
What would surprise most people about your history with food (and/or embarassing food stories)?
Many people believe that I grew up eating well, and making healthy choices. This is NOT the case! I am in awe of the fact that I used to consume (over consume) Cheez Whiz, McDonald’s and Kraft Dinner, to name a few.
Who do you most admire in the food movement?
Organic Farmers. Really. I am in AWE of how challenging the work is – it’s like being an entrepreneur who has everything riding on our crazy weather and cannot really schedule anything in advance – plus has to pay extra for certification, which is almost like a penalty for doing what is good for us all (why aren’t conventional farmers given a pesticide tax?), and hope people value their often uglier, mismatched (most delicious) produce. My admiration and awe has me support organic farmers and food producers who support them at all costs in any way I can, including my pro-bono work.
What is your favourite season and why?
Spring – specifically the late spring when we are really through with winter and the days are longer and warmer. There is nothing better than trees in those first weeks of full leaves, incredible blossoms, and when we get our hands dirty in the soil, planting our gardens and the farmers’ markets are full of smiles and local produce. When the local, organic asparagus arrives, I believe in the goodness in the world at new heights as crazy as that sounds! People often say that if we had the sunshine and greens all year in Toronto we wouldn’t appreciate it as much, but I disagree – not wearing socks, no jackets required, fresh food and the outdoors in full colour just makes me happy, plus people walk with their heads up smiling. The days are longer, and we aren’t rushing to get inside. Bliss.
Do you have any advice for newcomers to the food movement, and how they can make a contribution?
Anyone who eats is automatically part of the food movement! The best way to be part of the solution instead of the problem is to get connected to what you are eating. If you know your food, you will make your OWN best decisions. You do not need experts to tell you what to do, or labels to qualify your diet or lifestyle – just trace the food back to where it came from, and feel good about your decision to eat it. Here are my own food rules: http://bordencom.com/home/2013/08/if-you-need-to-label-me/.
If you came back to earth for three more lifetimes, what life form would you choose to be and why?
A philanthropist with a trust fund living in a tropical location, perhaps? Otherwise, I’m pretty pleased with and grateful for my life.
What do you daily or weekly to try and be a part of the solution when it comes to creating a sustainable food system?
I only try to be part of the solution, but I think that is subjective, and I’m certainly not only eat what I grow, so…..but I’m most proud of and enjoy going to the farmers’ markets weekly, year round with my family – and friends, too. It’s definitely a highlight of my week, for many reasons.
Is there a fruit or vegetable that you just won’t eat?
Green peppers. I can’t stand them and never have, no matter how often I try. When I learned that they are really just unripe peppers it made sense – they were just trying to be something they aren’t, and I’m not one for imposters!
What issue/passion inspires you to keep doing the work you do day after day?
My 3 incredible children and my husband – fuel for everything!
It depends what you consider to be junkfood, but I love ice cream and chocolate – a lot of both, and often for breakfast – but it’s all made with the good stuff by good people, so I can’t call it junk!
This post is part of the HH Food Makers and Changers series, introducing you to friends in the food community that are making a big difference.