Food – The Holiday
Our national holidays celebrate the birthdays of great men who have formed our country (think Washington and King), days of remembrance for those who have served and those who tend to be taken for granted (Mother’s and Father’s), but how does food fit into this scenario? Is our newly coined National Food Day a sign that real food is becoming a thing of the past?
I had been struggling for weeks to come up with a way to spend this day that seemed fitting of the occasion and admit that I failed. As an advocate for clean food, this important day should have had great meaning to me. And yet, somehow when the day finally rolled around, it felt quite empty. As our food and our environment are ever changing, I find myself wondering if the political agendas that are shaping our food system are moving us forward, or possibly backwards? Our First Lady is visiting Chicago and addressing Mayor Emanuel’s food summit where just this past summer the mayor brought in Walmart and other grocery chains to discuss opening stores in areas deemed food deserts. Have we gone so far astray so as to believe that Walmart is the answer to food accessibility?
As many of my readers already know, here in Connecticut I work closely with Urban Oaks Organic Farm – a 4 acre, year-round organic farm, also in a designated food desert – where a single city block provides endless educational opportunities, community events, connection to the land and to purpose, volunteer opportunities, access to locally grown food for all, and an incredible blend of cultures that makes a Friday farm stand feel like a multinational celebration. THIS is the true power of food – to bring us together, to celebrate our differences, to nourish the land and our communities, to fuel our local economies, to support our good health, and to break bread together with one purpose. True nourishment and not big box agribusiness.
These are the goals that motivate me every day. So, on our first national Food Day I honored food by enjoying a locally grown apple dipped in locally grown honey. I prepared delicata squash roasted in apple cider for my girls who devoured every last bite except minus the stems. I made a warm and hearty soup for dinner with locally grown onions, carrots, kale, beans, spinach, parsley and chopped tomatoes. And I was nourished. It was a simple day, and it was delicious. And today and the next day and the day after that I’ll do the same (just with a different menu). I will make conscious choices, I will prepare real food, and I will appreciate every bite. Perhaps if you join me, we can make Food Day worth observing every day, and prevent true nourishment from becoming more than just a day of remembrance.
Eat clean live well!