A not so long time ago, not too far away from where I sit, Chaco Canyon began as a sparkle in Chris Maykut’s imagination. What Chaco is today is barely recognizable compared to that 1st idea – not just in terms of what we offer (our menu), but also in terms of what we’re making real in our community through outreach efforts and partnerships with local farms, businesses, activists and non-profits.
Maybe 10 years is a long time for some, but the past decade has gone by in a flash for us. When we first started, raw cuisine and veganism was just going mainstream, with awareness being brought to alternative diets as a pushback from the baby boomer packaged food craze out of the 60’s & 70’s, and let’s be honest it continues today (Stoffer’s anyone?). Chris recognized early on that our food system is of vital social importance, and that corporations may not have our health and well-being at the forefront of their intention. Not only humans’ health and well-being, but the planet’s as well (which full circle is also the key to humanities survival). It has not been that long (about 100 years), since our food production was so controlled outside of our personal experience. We may harvest some fruits and vegetables, but the interconnectedness between the transportation network, and our global food system, has really distanced us from it all.
Chaco Canyon strives to act as a foodie time-capsule, to a time when everything about a meal was made from scratch, especially when eating out at restaurants. We firmly believe you should feel better after eating than you did before, not the opposite. We must also take that same care of what we put into the planet, because it does, and will come full circle back into our bodies, and is already showing up across our ecosystems and in our food chain. That’s one of many reasons we are such nut-balls about what we do in our restaurant, and why time and again we get interesting responses to the information we don’t have plastic forks, but folks can take our metal ones! It forces recognition of importance of an item most people consider disposable – we’re not trying to mess with people’s heads to fight for the planet, but if it helps people recognize their impact, even in a small way, for just an instant, yay! It’s also why we have entirely mis-matched plates, forks and mugs. It’s not because we’re cheap, it’s because we’re trying to put a break in the consumer & production cycle, and to keep more things from being thrown away.
We created the Chacoteer program, to be the interface of our intention with the World, and our first projects have been great fun. Our next target is the Really Really Free Market, an idea born of sharing, and things not going to waste just because we don’t want it anymore, or because someone will not buy it. The idea is that folks would bring anything they no longer desired possession of, which would be sorted and cleaned for display, repaired, or potentially recycled. Hopefully this initiative would help arrest illegal dumping in our area, and also build community in a really fun and random way.
This Blog will serve as the voice of the chacoteers, bringing recipes, tips on organic produce that’s available locally, highlights about what’s happening in this lovely city, and how we can make it better! We will answer questions, as in depth as possible, about nutrition, vegan cooking & baking tips, philosophical inquiries, history of food and our infrastructure, you name it really.
At the end of the day, if as a restaurant (and for me personally as a human being), we can breathe life into ourselves, our community (our staff and customers), and the planet, rather than suck life from those things – well, we’ll consider that a successful day.
Many Thanks for Reading,
amor vincint Omnia,
Love Conquers All Things.