I’ve been reflecting on the relationship between food and human. Also reflecting on the meaning of relationship in this instance, the fundamental connection of sustainer and sustained. We’re taught to think in mechanical terms, that food is the “fuel for the machine” of the body. We’re taught that “an egg is an egg is an egg”, this messaging propagated by big money agricultural lobbies that praise commodity and conformity.
When assessing our relationship to the food we eat, we need new tools that help to define and govern this process. For all of human history, the acquisition, preparation and consumption of food have been the defining characteristics of each day. In our modern, bifurcated, prepackaged world, food has been reduced to the mechanistic sideline, stripped of meaning and processed for consumption by corporations. This most basic of building blocks has often become something of an afterthought, a means to an end instead of an end unto itself.
Food should inspire reverence, but to do so, it must be imbued with such qualities that we experience a sense of the sacred around it. This feeling must begin in the production, for reverence will not appear later in the chain just because we want it to. There is a question of honor, of spirituality, of right work that must be attended to in order to craft this reverential foundation.
Meat that comes from animals held in factory confinement does not inspire reverence. Monocrop vegetable fields devoid of other life do not inspire reverence. The industrial paradigm has stripped the reverence from food production by reducing it to the barest means of calculation on the economic scale and forgoing the qualitative scale in its entirety.
Nature is bountiful in her gifts; she inspires reverence and a sense of the sacred that has been lost between the grinding gears of industrialism. How do we hold space for reverence in the face of the sweeping anomie that grinds culture and ritual into glacial dust? It is in the small acts that we regain this consciousness. We take the time to hold food as sacred, to experience the ceremony that comes of giving thanks for nourishment.
We gather our strength against the bleakness of economic reductionism by embodying the joy and love of food. We break bread together, and share the ritual of food preparation. We seek out places to plant seeds and tend them into food that we may share. We are conscious of ceremony around food, and we work together to create food systems that are just and responsive to the needs of participants, from the land, to the animals, to the humans encompassed therein.
Though it can feel bleak, the light of another day shines fresh upon our faces. Spring creeps into our lives with all the hope that comes with it. We rise to the challenge, learning what it means to be human through the shared journey in which we engage. We take moments to hold gratitude, and we allow this to guide us on the path. The journey is slow, but we walk together and there is great joy in the journey itself. We celebrate the steps of life in ceremony and ritual, creating meaning as it is needed. As always, we are glad for the sharing. Much love and appreciation!