Kelsey is an integral part of our team here at the mill. She works in our cleaning plant with Brock cleaning all of our grain and processing our flours & cereals. Since she plays such an important part in the process of getting our grain to your table I thought you might like to get to know her a little better. I sat down this morning and had an interview with Kels to find out some more about her. I had a list of 5 questions for her that I'm going to be asking the rest of our team so you can meet us all - she's one of the six amazing people that make up the Daybreak crew.
I first asked Kelsey to tell me a little bit about herself:
"My name is Kelsey Rydberg, most people call me Peanut. I’m 25 and super in to a healthy lifestyle, yoga, dogs and organic eating. Also a big fan of vegetarianism - very passionate about animal advocacy & rescue. I am a certified yoga teacher and registered holistic nutritionist. I grew up in a farming community and was an active member of 4H - beef, horse & canine. I was a young leader in 4H, always took heifers not steers because I liked to bring them home with me. I have always had a deeply rooted love for all animals. After high school, I moved to Halifax with my best friend where I studied holistic nutrition and she studied yoga. This was really a big turning point in the way I live my life and also where my love for yoga really started to blossom. Since we were in a new community our family was the yoga studio because our real family was thousands of miles away. From there we started practicing every day and really fell in love with the philosophy. I just really love that yoga is a physical exercise that connects you with your body and your mind, really grounding you down in your body."
I then asked her if she felt that working at the mill had changed or benefited her:
"Yes - absolutely! It’s changed me physically because it’s a lot of hard labour. Mentally it’s helped me establish a sense of community and also a sense of wanting to manifest the life that I want - it’s beautiful to work with like minded people who share your vision. It’s more than a 9-5, it’s a lifestyle that we embody here at the mill. It’s helped me learn what it really takes to get food from farm to table. We don’t have any middlemen here at the mill we’re doing the whole process and then we really care about where our products go and we care about the land that provides for us. Farming is a great career to be in to but a lot of the times the land, Mother Gaia, gets lost in the whole process of it. You have to figure out big yields, how to provide for your family and a lot of times the thought doesn’t go back to how your soil feels and how your land feels and what it needs. Gene (Our super farmer) is really a man of the land he can somehow speak to the land and see how it’s doing and connect with it.
I also love working in the plant with Brock, somebody who is so grounded. We’re very relaxed and kind here and I think that really goes in to our products - they have a loving intention going in to them because we truly care. One of our biggest mottos is if you wouldn’t put it on your plate then don’t package it and don't sell it.
We’re also a very female dominated company which is beautiful to see because agriculture is generally seen as a man’s job. We’re females pioneering it. It’s given me purpose and I’ve found my niche. I’m excited for the future to see where we can expand and grow in positive ways. Not so much expanding our exports but expanding the connection of people with their food."
If Kelsey could change three things about the world she would want everyone to do more yoga, to change the agriculture and animal husbandry industry, and to bring more equality to all living beings.
"I wouldn’t want some of us dying over the epidemic of having too much food. Some people just have too much while other people are starving to death and dying - there’s huge social injustice in that. Why should some perish and some prosper? I would like to level the playing field and really focus on having everyone’s needs met before other people’s wants are met. Not even just regarding people but also regarding animals - respect and honour for all living beings. We have so much in Canada at our finger tips but in some countries women don’t even have equal rights.
Another thing I’d like to change is the way our animals are treated and processed. I’d like to take it back to small farms, to see things happening more local, more support for small farms, and animals getting treated with respect and kindness. I’d like to see them grow happily on a farm and have one bad day, dying in a happy and peaceful environment rather than weeks and months and years of bad days. Not only for animal welfare reasons but also for our global impact on the world. Our resources are being fed to animal husbandry when instead we could be using those crops to feed people that are starving. I'd like to see stricter laws on how much meat people can consume, to be more mindful about it. Our health industry could really improve if we connected to a well balanced diet instead of eating just the foods that we enjoy that don’t necessarily nourish our bodies.
I’d also really like everyone to do more yoga. To have a purpose to live for, have a sense of community that yoga really envokes. Yoga teaches people to connect back in to their heart space. A lot of people aren’t happy in their lifestyle but feel forced to live that way. If we allowed people to feel their feelings and really only do what felt right within their own body a lot of problems would work themselves out. We wouldn’t have as many sad people doing bad things. I want more people to do yoga but then I also don’t want to take away from other powerful belief systems. It’s really important to have a strong positive belief system, to really learn to be okay with whatever you’re feeling. It’s okay to have all of the feelings but it’s not okay to not be okay with having those feelings. We need to learn to have more self love and to accept exactly where we are on our path."
Tell me why you think it's important to be healthy Peanut:
"First I think it’s important to set a definition of what healthy really is. Because I feel a lot of people are striving for this ‘healthy’ that isn’t actually healthy anymore. Health is body, mind and spirit - not just body. You can be the healthiest eater and still have the most unhealthy mindset. It’s an overall spectrum and we really need to start focusing on real food. A lot of people think they’re healthy because they got the skinny low fat mocha but it actually means you got a super chemically altered food substance with lower calories. We need to focus on our gut health and our old way of eating. Creating a healthy gut helps create a healthy mind. 80% of our serotonin is created in our digestive tract and that is 80% of our happiness. It’s important to be healthy but it’s first important to form a healthy relationship with what it means to be healthy. Healthy looks different on everyone. There’s a lot of body shaming that goes on in our society to make people think healthy looks a certain way. I think local eating is one of the most beneficial things you can do because it connects you to your land, your roots and your foundation. Connecting to your local farmers markets, focusing on eating whole foods instead of low calorie foods and to tune in to what your body’s asking for and eating those foods. I think one of the healthiest decisions anyone could make would be to get rid of refined sugar. White sugar they say is as addicting as cocaine. That is one of the first foods we feed our babies if they’re on formula – not food, but a food like substance. Being healthy is important because it changes your outlook on life. When you feel good your perspective changes. When you have a belly ache you’re more likely to be unhappy. Being healthy is important because it helps your brain function. Where your brain functioning is at is where your life perspective is coming from. It’s important to be healthy in your mind frame and in your relationships. It’s your job to take care of your vessel – your body, soul and mind. I think that through living a healthy lifestyle you positively impact everyone around you.
I also think that health is interesting because I could be eating the most healthy salad with so many greens and so many good things on there but the raw food could upset my digestive tract and I could be sent to the bathroom with diarrhea. Or, I could be eating a whole wheat sandwich with cheese and butter and whatever, and if it made me happy it could actually be more nourishing than the salad. The mindset that you put on the food you’re eating is so important. You need to program the way your brain is thinking about the food you’re eating."
We've gotten to know Peanut fairly well now. She's a happy, passionate and driven individual with a passion for animals, equality and yoga. She has respect for the earth and for every living being around her. I had one last question for Kelsey: for anyone wanting to improve their health right now, what would you recommend?
"Eat whole foods and remove refined foods from your diet. Be happy about what you’re eating no matter what it is. Enjoy eating - set down your phone and focus on your food. Also I think that eating in a community is really important. Getting together with people to enjoy good food is super healthy and can really change the way your body responds to food. One of the most important things to do is to have a tall glass of water first thing when you wake up to clean your digestive tract out. It goes through your system and flushes out any toxins or residue that have gathered there through the night. It also stimulates your digestive system and gets it going before you put anything else in there. If you’re having coffee first thing, your body gets used to that jolt. Where if you started with a jolt of cleansing water it would be a lot more beneficial. Water first thing is the kicker!"
So there you have it - that's our little peanut in a nutshell! We're so proud to have her as a part of our team and we hope you enjoyed getting to