I grew up in the land of convenience foods. My hardworking mom did her best to make supper for Dad and us 4 kids after a long day of getting the bills paid. Setting the table was a daily ritual, and table manners were a must. And we had Stove Top Stuffing, Rice a Roni, and Kraft Mac and Cheese.
When I grew up and had a family of my own, a friend introduced me to this concept of Community Supported Agriculture: CSA. You basically pre-purchase food directly from a farm, and you get a weekly portion of what comes in as it grows. Mind blown. On so many levels!
Level 1: As human beings and one species among many, I believe our bodies follow a natural rhythm and function best when we ingest what’s around on a seasonal basis. I think that’s what’s known as macrobiotic (oversimplified)
Next level: Human beings are pack animals. We form tribes and most naturally group together. When we disconnect with food sources and the humans who produce our food, we disconnect from our humanness. I believe that depersonalization and commodity and consumerism mindset keeps us from one another, and keeps us from waking up.
Yet another level:thriving local economies in the 20th century came to mean landing a large manufacturer that could employ a lot of workforce( 200+ good paying jobs with benefits like the paper industry, a call center, or even huge healthcare.) But when we thin of the first tier of import substitution, the food system, the food production that is the the closest is the most efficient and is interdependent with the the people who purchase and consume. Hooray for food sovereignty! This naturally leads to a greater awareness of the ecosystem and stewardship.
What level are we on? Multi-farm CSA: a hybrid. Certain farms and farmers are good at certain things: apple orchard, dairy farm, veggies, goat cheese, baked goods, meats. Aggregating among a specific geography while we combine technology, logistics, and variety makes for a more user-friendly experience for modern families and specific dietary needs. i really like the surprise and creativity that a weekly food share brings.
And a nod toward the equity level: I recently heard the phrase that the rich get organic and the poor get diabetes. Here in Maine, and here in Waterville where we have a broad socioeconomic spread, we are making changes in our food pantry offerings, our SNAP benefits, and school lunches to offer more fruits and veggies and fresh foods, so all families have healthier options. We are looking at preparation and education too.
Our bodies heal themselves when properly nourished, making nutrition the least expensive and most effective health care there is.