Lunch on the Farm

October 8, 2017 @ Ecolibrium Farms

The ideal circumstance for efficient digestion would go a little like this: You begin preparation of your meal with your family by going our to your own garden and picking fresh vegetables. You see fresh food and vibrant colors, and completely appreciate all the time and effort that has gone into growing it. The appreciation would not be limited to yourself and your family who tended the garden, but of course also to Nature—for the plants’ efforts and the miracle of the sun, the soil, and the seed all coming together to create this beautiful food. You bless the food first and then eat the food over thoughtful conversation, or listening to music that is conducive to good digestion.
— Melina Meza, Art of Sequencing

We began in the fields with this reading.  We wandered and gathered, whatever looked good.  We brought it all to the table by the fire and made up a menu together.  Some washed, some chopped, some nibbled, some stirred the pot.  We sat down late afternoon to our feast - radishes, bread, butter, soup, salad, wine - and with each other.   

When was the last time you were on a farm?  we asked each other.  The answers led us here and there and everywhere.  We showed up mostly strangers and left friends.  

Our First Gathering

May 15, 2017 @ the Riveter

The culture of food is as important, if not more important, than the production of food...Because our food system is disconnected.  It operates in silos: vegetables here, animals here, grains somewhere else — each component part separate from the others and unhitched to any kind of culture.”
— Dan Barber, The Third Plate

The invitation was to come explore sustainability and the food system.  Our guiding premise was inspired by a book we'd both recently read, The Third Plate.  Our plan was to show up with a few ideas and minimal structure, then let the project be shaped by those who showed up.  Certainly we wanted to be rooted in a few basic notions -

  • systems thinking - a theory that explores the links among the seemingly unconnected and uses this holistic understanding to re-imagine current systems through elegant and innovative design. This methodology can be used to help organizations and individuals move beyond problem-solving to discover and implement patterning or structures for long-term health and wellbeing.  
  • accessibility - envisioning a healthy food system for land and people as a right for all, rather than a privilege.  
  • diversity - we enter the system where we are, as we are and hope the discussion will only broaden with time to include a variety of voices from across cultures, races, genders, ages, and identities. 
  • collaboration - a work in progress that we all contribute to, taking turns to both lead and listen.

About 15 of us gathered around a table to see what could happen when we asked each other a few questions and shared our ideas. 

We started with a Check-in Question - when were you last on a farm?

The discussion split into two groups to delve into production/consumption (the whys and whats of the system) and culture (optimal conditions for eating and digestion, the importance of community, cuisine).  After a time, the dialogue merged and we took from it a framework for future conversations.

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