Johanna in Catania, Sicily! A Global Examination of Over-Consumption Recovery!


Join me in my conversation with Johanna, living in Catania, Sicily! I am enlivened by this snapshot of Johanna’s over-consumption recovery, and I hope that you are too!

A few quick words about why I post “Biocadence International Interviews”: Connecting with global siblings who are making similar behavioral adjustments is a delight that I have particularly benefited from. The support and knowledge can uncover treasures we may not have known to look for, facilitating increased quality of life through living more sustainably!

Johanna of J Siljehagen Green Consulting

**Follow Johanna on FacebookBlogspot, and Twitter

  • Biocadence: Where do you live? What current events have the most impact on your community? What sustainable living practices are common in your community?

Johanna: I live in Catania, the eastern part of Sicily, just by the foot of the active volcano Etna. I live here mostly for work, to avoid back and forth travelling from where I lived before (by the beach in south Sicily which is also a great area for organic produce). Wait… I do not like to call it work… Let’s call it ”what I love to do”.

Sicily has now started to open up the dialogue about environmental issues and just some time ago inserted recycling and diversing of domestic waste. Additionally, Sicily has many sun parks (solar) and has invested a lot in wind turbines.

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  • Biocadence: What do you do for a living?

Johanna: I am  an entreprenour in the Green Sector. I started exporting organic produce over three years ago and have now developed into other green sectors, like tourism and construction.

  • Biocadence: How often do you cook at home versus eat out? Do you know your farmer(s)? Where do you get your food; how much of your food do you grow yourselves? How do you choose your food vendors? Approximately what % of your diet is meat/veggie/grain?

Johanna: We cook at home twice a day, for lunch and dinner, and eat out 1-2 times a week to eat fresh fish the local fishermen bring to the restaurants. Sicilian cuisine is pure and healthy and having fish dishes prepared by a high quality Sicilian chef is life luxury.

I know my farmers because some are connected with export, and we buy locally grown produce from markets and street vendors.

We grow a lot of herbs and spices on the terrace and planted some citrus trees like orange, mandarine and lemons. Unfortunately last season our crop was destroyed by  bugs we were not prepared for and did not know how to handle. But now we have a new start and are better prepared.

I choose food vendors by looking at where the food comes from; there are polluted agricultural areas and I never buy products from there. I look for freshness and local food, otherwise I don’t buy it. We eat all food by season; this makes it more fun because dishes change and we get new recipe ideas all the time by testing something new. We do not buy any supermarket foods.

We eat red meat very little- once a month, and chicken/fish 3-4 times a week. We eat veggies every day, several times a day… we eat alot of vegetables and fruit. E.g.: Instead of potato chips, I’d rather eat fennel slices. We eat almost no grain, but a lot of beans, lentils etc.

  • Biocadence: How do you refuel your spirit, energy, and optimism?

Johanna: By training my mind to be free. I read a lot of books and follow other IMG_2111people who have adapted a new lifestyle. You always find something new- a new perspective, a new idea, a new thing to try…

I also avoid negative people, and surround myself with positive people. I have always been an optimist, even when it rains, because after rain comes sunshine and the rain reminds us of that.

  • Biocadence: If you could change one thing about humanity, what would it be?

Johanna: Egoism.

  • Biocadence: What sustainable living behaviors did you grow up with? What sustainable living transitions have you incorporated into your lifestyle? How do your sustainable living practices impact your quality of life? Why do you engage in them?

Johanna: My family was very picky with food. I was born in Lapland, Sweden, so fishing salmon and picking berries was ”normal” life. I was allowed to eat fast food once a year, when school finished for summer break. My dad had a E-list on the fridge, with all dangerous E ingredients in the food. My parents made bread, soft drinks, fish, chips, etc at home. I do not remember ever drinking Coca-Cola growing up… We were also allowed to participate in food planning and cooking. I think that is very important.

My life quality has increased a lot. My first step was to get rid of things. It was hard but I created a system that worked and sold over 1000 items in the first months. Then, when I moved to Sicily I saw the change in my health from eating pure local foods. Today I do not need medicine for daily headache or stomach problems, because they are gone. I have far fewer wrinkles, cellulite is almost gone, and allergies are gone.  I have started to train my mind and have begun to have an incredible amount of peace inside; I no longer worry about the future, the past is gone… I’m learning to live today and see that life has a funny way to create a path and solve things. Do not ask me how; that is the way it is.

I engage in these changes because if we want a change, the change comes from us. No politician, God or friend can do it. Just you! And it is easy; decide – start organizing – do it! One by one, step by step…

  • Biocadence: Who are your role models? Why?

IMG_2113Johanna: I have too many. There are a lot of good people out there. And all have their own special skills. You are one of them. Role models are those who have real life knowledge; I love to listen to their life stories.

  • Biocadence: What estimates do you have about the state of global affairs 50 years in the future? How do you relate to your global siblings and/or ancestors… how do you think about them and/or incorporate thoughts of them into your decision making?

Johanna: I hope to reach to a point where, in 50 years, doing the same thing as today, I have peace in life and mind. I want to earn just what I need and have a lot of free time. I hope that, during these 50 years, I have kept the guts to say: “No!”, and stand for what I believe in. And I hope that more people, globally, have changed their way of living.

In my decison making, I think local. These are the only surroundings you can effect and control.

  • Biocadence: When you are seeking answers, where do you go? Books and quotes by subject matter mentors? Exercise? Nature? Silence? Discussion with friends and family? Meditation and/or prayer? When you’ve reached your answer(s) and look back on the experience, what pleases you most: the solution you found, or the process that got you there?

Johanna: I do not seek so much answers today. When the mind is in peace, life gives you the answers you need. I see that when Ego is involved, you get the answers you want to get. But, perhaps those are not the right answers, and this gives you a lot of trouble.

I have daily dialogues with so called ”self thinking” people so I get a lovely dose every day.

Nature is the source of our strength; we cannot live without it. But nature can live without us. It is good to be reminded of that.

Now studying Ayurveda, Meditation and Yoga… it’s tough to learn when you have been an over-consumer before :).

  • Biocadence: What does the verb “to enjoy” mean to you? Do you remember a moment when you mastered “enjoyment”? When… where… what were you doing? And, what made it so?

Johanna: Enjoyment means “I cannot wait to wake up to a new day”. These days I feel like that most evenings when I go to bed. It takes time to get there… but it is worth it. I work with the things I like; no one can control my time and mind. Happiness has focus on spiritual things, not on consumption and career as it was before.

  • Biocadence: What is a fun fact about you that I may not know to ask about?

Johanna: I cry when I visit organic produce fields and green houses. The feelings take me over. Producers are so entertained, because they do not understand how much we have lost contact with nature in North Europe.

**Follow Johanna on FacebookBlogspot, and Twitter

For more inspiration from global siblings engaged in over-consumption recovery, check out my October 2012 interview with Sietske, Off-Grid in Spain (read more here). Thanks for joining me! Squeeze hugs, from Annie at Biocadence.

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About Biocadence

Hello! I’m Annie Tichenor, Founder of Biocadence, LLC (www.biocadence.wordpress.com). I hope to ignite a path toward over-consumption recovery, global sibling interconnectedness, and quality-of-life design. A few years ago, I began measuring my impact on the environment. Since then I’ve analyzed my energy-use habits while researching the impact of over-consumption on the global hunger epidemic, global relations and global quality of life. This process has driven me to notice the disparity between my environmental impact in the past and my footprint goal for the future. My drive to change my own habits has evolved into a desire to share my strategies. I crafted the Biocadence Recipe and the Impact/Disturbance (ID) Model, to illustrate the critical role of behavioral sustainability in the sustainable lifestyle transition process. Biocadence is focused on increasing the accessibility of sustainable living and facilitating the rhythm of humanity in harmony with nature. The vision of Biocadence is to build a community of environment-lovers who come together to leverage each other’s knowledge and celebrate sustainable living accomplishments. Learn about the Biocadence Recipe and ID Model: http://www.biocadence.org/biocadence.html

7 responses to “Johanna in Catania, Sicily! A Global Examination of Over-Consumption Recovery!”

  1. Tammy says :

    Great interview. Thanks for introducing us to Johanna!

  2. Reginald Myers says :

    The New York Times had a recent article that indicated that with greater demands for “organic” foods, growers are now part of the agribusiness conglomerate. They are taking shortcuts, using pesticides that metabolize quickly and are therefore undetectable, and depleting water supplies. The articles and subsequent responses also state that standards are not being strictly enforced in some places. How would you respond to these arguments? A supporter of sustainability in everything – Irma V.

    • Biocadence says :

      Hello Irma,

      Thank you for your comment and question. I’m glad that you introduce me to this article– I hadn’t read this before. Though… I am not surprised to hear it. I think that we have many produce options available to us that fall anywhere along a large spectrum of sustainable-eating values. Purchasing food that is labeled organic is a step in a positive direction. But, there are ways to step even further… and these are the methods I’d recommend exploring. Talking to our farmers about their sustainable, organic/beyond-organic, seed-integrity, soil-building, and all-around ecological stewardship strategies and philosophies is the best way (I know, as of today) to choose our vendors. I feel more comfortable discerning trust-worthiness through eye contact, active conversation and a farm tour than I do through FDA or USDA approval. This may not be activity that everyone has time for, or wishes to prioritize. In the meantime, “organic” and “non-GMO” labeling is better than nothing… AND overall, we need to take baby-steps (or large ones… smile) toward awake and aware connection to our food source and the factors that impact its quality! I think that the process is very rewarding– connecting to our food enhances our respect for the work it took to bring it to us… enhancing our experience of the food all the way down to the flavor (in my experience). And, we may be surprised along the way. For instance, one farm I buy from in winter, (for their fantastic sweet potatoes!) is not “certified organic”. They WANT to remain small… they like the size and quality of their operation, and they enjoy putting their profits toward quality rather than certifying their product through a huge organization that is more or less checking boxes. Through conversation with them, I wonder whether their produce may be more organic than some “certified organic” produce. Plus, it feels fantastic to support a tiny farm that grows produce for reasons beyond profit!!!!!

      Thanks for prompting the thoughts on this subject! I hope that you will visit again, and would love to hear back from you about how you relate to the flaws in our organic food system!

      Annie

  3. Shakti Ghosal says :

    Hi Annie,

    Am visiting here after a while. Great interview. Why is it that you have stopped posting?

    Shakti

    • Biocadence says :

      Hi Shakti!

      Thanks for visiting, and it’s wonderful to hear from you! I stopped posting in the third trimester of my pregnancy. My daughter, Charlotte was born in September. I’ve taken time that has promised to speed by, and done my best to absorb each moment! I will be active again very soon!

      Annie

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