Today, as we mixed, kneaded, and baked bread I was struck by how many hands went into making our loaves. Someone mixed the flour and yeast, several more of us kneaded, punched, or divided the dough. As I watched how many individuals were involved in creating a simple (compared to many of the processed foods we eat), I began to think about the journey our food takes and to ask myself how many people touch my favorite meals before I do? If you think about it for a minute - the farmer, the butcher, the packager, the grocer, etc. (I'm sure I'm forgetting some key steps) it's a lot!
I'll refrain from a rant about the idea that half those people PROBABLY don't wash their hands.
The point of this is, as I watched this process coupled with our discussion of food in America, I realized how disconnected we are from what we put in our bodies. It seems so strange that we don't know more about the people, places, and processes that our food undergoes before we allow our bodies to process it again. We have to live and function off of the things we put in our bodies, and I'm all too guilty (like most) of a fast food filled diet. This made me question: If we had a spiritual connection with our food, if we held the objects we ate with the same regard and respect the Makah do, would we eat differently? I think the answer is OF COURSE! But in turn, the question is how. How do we find a connection with our food that allows us to be better informed about who and what goes into our foods?
My aunt, by my family standards, is a hippie. She's always danced to a different drummer, and was into organic and local produce because of the health benefits long before it was hip to be into organic and local produce. I called her after class today to share my new found "AHA!" moment about food - she just laughed. Nevertheless, she did provide some great information about how to get more connected to what we eat. There's an organization based out of Louisville called 15Thousand Farmers that provides information and resources to individuals about providing yourself and your family with more sustainable and organic produce. They use educational seminars, other members, and community resources (organic markets, agriculture cabinet, etc.) to teach average Joe's how to grow veggies, fruits, and herbs. How cool is that? The movement has caught on and the number of gardens (Even small ones) is growing exponentially because of it. Kentucky also has movements such as "Kentucky Proud" that encourages residents to buy local and organic products. Have you heard of similar organizations in your area? What other steps could we be taking to minimize how many unwashed hands or chemicals touch our foods before we eat them? That's what's on my mind today. Thinking about the process instead of the end product - thinking about who baked the bread while we break it - is new to me, but it has the wheels in my brain turning.
The Link to 15Thousand Farmers is: www.15ThousandFarmers.com
Check it out!