The Ugly Cucumber is the brain child of Lia Walsh, an Ottawa-based foodie and sustainability nerd.
As a millennial, I see a lot of my peers wanting to live sustainable, green lives but not knowing exactly where to start. This is especially true because our generation is so short on time and money—things we tend to associate with green living. We often feel like being green means we can’t have the simple pleasures of being a foodie or splurging on nice things once in a while. That’s why I started The Ugly Cucumber: to provide practical, straightforward ways for millennials to make sustainable food choices that will actually enrich their everyday lives.
The Ugly Cucumber gets its name from the ugly food movement, which (in case you missed it) tries to reduce food waste by encouraging people to focus more on taste and nutrition than what the food looks like. In other words: calm down. The forked carrot or u-shaped cucumber isn’t going to hurt you. In fact, it was probably just grown even more naturally than the picture-perfect ones you find in the grocery!
I began my journey in sustainability when I visited farms and started home gardening as a kid. There were always plants (decorative and edible alike) in my house and back yard when I was young, even though my mother claimed to have no green thumb. She started by planting the neighbour’s gift of chives among her roses and hydrangea bushes, and then we planted our first full-on vegetable garden not long after. That was about 20 years ago now! Since then, I’ve loved few things as much as getting my hands covered in soil or plucking a fresh tomato or bean off the plant.
I started canning as a kid, too. My grandmother always made what she called “pickles” in the fall (although it’d be much better described as relish), and it was my duty from age 10 to help her. Nana’s pickles were so good that once in a while they induced fighting in our family—especially when there was only one jar left!
This rich food history and my love for all things green have made sustainable food systems second-nature for me, and I just can’t wait to share this knowledge with you!