Food and Faith is a blog of the Presbyterian Hunger Program.
That evening I sat on my front porch and stared at my green grass and budding bushes. I wanted to throw a 2 year old style tantrum, of not understanding why the world was so unfair. I was ready to take control of my food system. I was ready to get back to the dirt and simpler times. I was ready to turn my yard into a demonstration of how to do so. But for reasons beyond my control, I could not.
How was it that the ecological revolution I saw budding in myself and my backyard was so easily derailed by the previous industrial one of my predecessors?...
“From dust you were made, and to dust you will return.”
Our bodies were created of earth; they are sustained by what we intake, which is grown by, or feeds off the earth; and ultimately we will return to the earth.
I wonder however, if the modern world version of the phrase should be, “From fossil fuels you are made, to them you cannot return”
“I just want to peek inside real quick. Okay?” I said. The plastic sign read “Village Pantry,” with a big red tomato on it. It was right around the corner from an apartment I was considering, and I was curious to see what I would be dealing with.
“Of course,” my dad agreed with a laugh, as I jumped out of the car and through the doors of the corner store. I quickly darted up and down the isles, glancing at beef jerky, chips, and candy bars. I picked up a sandwich or two in the “Bistro” case, noting the offsite packaging plant.
After my curiosity was satisfied, I walked out of the store and back to my car.
“Did they have a good organic section?” Dad joked.
“Not even a tomato,” I replied before pulling out of the parking lot, “or a can of beans to stock the pantry.”
Earlier this month, I was asked to give a talk on food justice to a near by congregation. I knew this was a broad topic, but I didn’t realize exactly how broad it was until I began compiling my presentation. I felt overwhelmed, the same feeling I usually experience when going into a “big box” grocery store, after spending most of my time at local markets. The choices were unlimited. After discernment and a better understanding of the crowd, I decided to focus on the social dimensions of our food system- looking at those key players that often times go unnoticed. Narrowing the topic still suggested an extensive amount of coverage. Realizing I had to start somewhere, I put together my prezi entitled, “It’s Just Food: Social Inequalities within the American Food System.”
I began with the story of Thanksgiving. While we can thank those closest to us, we often times never get a chance (or forget entirely) to thank those doing the work to get us our food. After focusing on the producers and suppliers: small farmers, workers in the fields, and more specifically dairy farmers, I switched gears and looked at the consumers, spotlighting the working class living in food deserts, and the homeless. I wanted to give food justice a face, while still showing the extensiveness of this subject.
Our food system has gone astray, so much so that it’s harming other areas of our life and we don’t even realize it (health and well-being). I have grown up in a culture that is famous for the elevator speech. Fit everything you have to say in 20 minutes or less! Starting ….NOW..GO! It’s hard to fit so much information into a 20 minute talk, let alone come up with a quick and easy solution (impossible!). I’m still unsure if people walked away with the message I wanted to bring, but at least I planted a seed.
Vickie Machado is a 2012 Food Justice Fellow. She is currently living full time at the Gainesville Catholic Worker and pursuing her Master’s in Religion and Nature at the University of Florida.
TRY this: place a forkful of food in your mouth. It doesn’t matter what the food is, but make it something you love — let’s say it’s that first nibble from three hot, fragrant, perfectly cooked ravioli.
Now comes the hard part. Put the fork down. This could be a lot more challenging than you imagine, because that first bite was very good and another immediately beckons. You’re hungry.
So begins an article called "Mindful Eating as Food for Thought," which challenges us to not eat like the Cookie Monster.
And in case you haven't yet done the Just Eating? curriculum, one of the sessions is all about food as a sacred gift from God. You can download it for free here. Look for Unit 1 on Food Sharing as Sacramental...
And if you've never tried a food meditation, here are the simple instructions for a Raisin Meditation!