Food and Faith is a blog of the Presbyterian Hunger Program.
Tomorrow is Independence day. The day we American’s celebrate the signing of a document that asserted that all men were created equal and with the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. On the Forth we normally assert those rights and pursue our happiness with flag waving, gracious displays of fireworks, and grilled food. I’m not knocking it, I enjoy a good cook out. But I do find it interesting that many think of this day as display of patriotism.
Patriotism is defined as a love of country and willingness to sacrifice for it. I guess waving flags and honoring troops could fall into those categories. However, there are many different ways we’ve conceptualized patriotism over the years, one of which, was food.
During both World War I and World War II conserving food was advertised as patriotic act. Due to the food and labor scarcity war brought, it was advertised as the way in which Americans could support their troops, their country, and their fellow humans in war struck lands.
During World War I Herbert Hoover, then head of the United States Food Administration, pioneered campaigns such as Meatless Monday and Wheatless Wednesday.Going without meat or bread was promoted as patriotic act. It was the sacrifice of comfort, for ones country.
Why can’t we do that today? Sacrifice a little of our comfort for the good of our country? Sustainable farming practices are good for the land of our country. Equitable pay for restaurant and factory workers is good for the fellow man, who lives in our country.
That’s a conceptualization of patriotism I could really get behind.
Elise Springuel is a AmeriCorps*VISTA serving with the Presbyterian Hunger Program in Indianapolis. She is looking forward to seeing how Hoosier's celebrate Independence Day