Food can be so very personal and each of us has our own taste and preferences. But it's hard to ignore how each of these seemingly small daily choices affect the greater food system that we're a part of.
Farmer's markets are a place where I feel one step closer towards connecting with the source of my food. What I love most is that you can have a direct conversation with a farmer and hear the pride in her voice about the produce she has on the table in front of her. Or how excited he gets when you ask one question further than "How much is this?". It's a place filled with vibrant colours, soil under fingernails, and an evolving weekly selection based on what's in season. Prices might be more expensive in some cases, but I think the cost is worth the experience and that extra insight into seeing where your food comes from.
From a young age Martina became engaged with food and the role it plays in the world surrounding her. Her summers were spent at her second home in Croatia, cooking with in her family and neighbors. She remembers being outside a lot, which allowed her to connect with her surroundings. This way of life has moved with her through out the years and she continues to have a deep connection with the food that she eats.
In this beautiful video she says:
“Food is something that is extremely essential, and also extremely personal to people. And that really drives me because I know that without food that’s healthy, and without a world that’s going to continue producing healthy food, we aren’t going to exist any longer…”
Martina is a very driven individual and is determined to make a difference. Through her entrepreneurial venture work at the MaRS Discovery District and Engineers Without Borders she has fine-tuned her talents in order to follow her passion. A passion which currently lies in food and our food systems. She strives to make them more accessible, simple and healthy for the rest of us.
She started working on an personal initiative called Local Apple based out of Toronto. She delved into researching and prototyping a digital marketplace-based regional food hub. This was created to address the changing ways in which we shop for food and that effect on local economies. It marries her passion for the potential of startups, sustainable food economics, better nutrition and her deep respect for those producers with integrity who feed us. However, before she was really able to get things up and running she was offered an amazing opportunity to move to San Francisco to expand these efforts on a larger scale through a company called Good Eggs. Although I’m sad to see her go, I am beyond excited for the opportunity she has ahead of her.
Read her answers to the WCL questions:
What drives you? What's your mission?
My mission is to be intentional in all that I do, to shape my world in the image of my highest values and to never give up on that or give in to a lesser standard. I view life as a gift and so I’ve got a moral obligation to be useful... of value. I have been curious my entire life and so I figured out pretty quick, in my teens, that I loved engaging with and being social with food.
I saw that cooking was like simultaneously being in the driver’s seat of my health and the artist of a masterpiece.
Simple and nourishing food, like simple and nourishing food systems are an art that are incredibly rare in North America nowadays. I want to be of value in shaping our world in the image of that rare standard.
What is your favourite way to nourish yourself and your health?
This is a great question because I always find it to be super relative and super important. I find nourishment in three aspects of my life: emotional/spiritual, physical and professional.
Emotionally/spiritually, I’m focused on being a part of the lives of my friends and family and sharing mine with them. I’m also focused on my faith and morality in my life.
Physically, I just have to be active every day, and anything physical and functional is my go-to. My current passions are rock climbing, road cycling and trail running.
Professionally, to do what we really want – it takes a great kind of courage. When I didn’t know what that was, I did everything I could to earnestly discover it. Now that I know what that is, it’s about becoming more and more useful. It might sound funny to zero in on a state of being rather than an act, but overall, what nourishes me is progress.
Generally, to keep moving forward I make sure that at least two aspects are always kept in top shape – a setback in one (because hey, life!) will be an obstacle that is much easier to overcome than if I have to deal with two aspects of my life in disarray.
When do you feel the most beautiful?
I’ve always found great beauty in creation. Capable hands... sharp minds...humour... I love competence. Competence creates. I even love how imprecise that term is! Knowing that “naturals” are myths and that talented people may in fact have some innate inclination towards something. But they have spent tens of thousands of hours doing that thing makes competence both a moving target and totally accessible to us all. Malcolm Gladwell writes in his book, Outliers, that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. So roughly that’s like working full-time on something for six years... in our lifetime that means that we can be masters tenfold. And receive the joy of accomplishment that mastery deserves and happiness of the journey it created.
We are curious creatures. We should act on our inclinations towards talent and then share with others what we’ve learned.
That makes one feel so beautiful!
If you had one piece of advice for the next generation of young women, what would it be?
Too often I hear young women speaking of patience or freedom as veils for happiness when opportunities are slim and they’re feeling lost. “I don’t want to work 9-5 in some office like everyone else, so I’m going to work this low-responsibility job that gives me freedom,” or “I’m not sure yet what I want to do, so I’m going to enroll in a graduate degree and maybe I’ll figure it out then.” Isn’t waiting so unsettling? The mind and body are in top shape when kept busy.
Opportunities find those who are working. I think young people need to realize that being confused and overwhelmed by choices is a state of mind that can suck you in and make you disengaged for years. Take charge of your life. Young women are led to believe that our 20s don’t matter and today’s cultural attitude encourages turning away and hoping for the best. I don’t agree. 20 is the new 30. What you do with your 20s determines the course of your life, and possibly, that of many others.
“What makes a desert beautiful, is that somewhere it hides a well.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry