In this episode of the Regenerative Rising Podcast Elevating Stories, Activating Change, host Nisha Mary Polouse engages in a heartwarming conversation with Andrea Murdoch, Chef and Founder of Four Directions Cuisine. Chef Andrea Murdoch, an Indigenous Andean born in Venezuela, was adopted and raised in rural Ohio, navigating the intersection of diverse cultures. Following a challenging marriage that left her with PTSD, she sought solace and restoration by delving into her Indigenous heritage through the exploration of healthy Indigenous cuisine. In addition to locally and Indigenously sourcing ingredients, she actively engages in growing and foraging for food whenever possible, and is dedicated to uplifting delicious, healthy and sustainable food as a way of celebrating life and honoring Pachamama.
Andrea shares how indigenous wisdom has shaped her perspective on the flaws within our current food system and points the way towards a powerful re-connection with our food and the cycles of earth. Nisha and Andrea discuss issues such as rampant food waste, and a complete disconnection from the origins of our food. Andrea shares how she has come to appreciate the importance of working with and honoring the seasonality of food, and emphasizes the need for education to inform people about what it means to eat seasonally.
Andrea recently launched an experimental farming project called Pachamama5280. She has a small garden plot where she is growing predominantly pre-colonial crops and facilitating workshops in growing, harvesting, preserving harvest, and seed saving for the future. Starting in the second season she plans to incorporate lesser-known crops of the Andes to draw parallels between high-altitude farming of the Andes with that of the Rockies.
Andrea also delves into the cultural context and psychological barriers that indigenous people face, including the challenges of overcoming ancestral and historical trauma. Andrea openly shares her personal journey of reclaiming her indigeneity and engaging in the process of decolonization. She offers valuable advice on how to listen to our heart and spirit amidst the distracting white noise of society, in order to find our true path and purpose. As the episode concludes, Andrea shares her exciting future aspirations, and Nisha and Andrea both agree on the transformative power of food in having the potential to catalyze the entire regenerative movement.