Communities: Connecting Us Through Food Production
What brings people together?
There is something special about the tendency to gather around food. The relationships we have with food are rooted in the connections that we have with the people that we love, and the sense of nostalgia that comes with the many memories that surround the meals that we eat. Over time, our relationship with food has evolved and become more meaningful in our lives. Still, the fact that food emerges from tradition is not to be dismissed. These traditions are a way to keep us connected to our identities, and food offers a sense of unity which can bring both similar and diverse backgrounds together.
What about food production?
The feeling of making a meal from scratch can be one of the most rewarding, joyful experiences. What’s even better than sharing a homemade meal? Growing the food that contributes to these meals! Can you picture it? The simplicity of harvesting good food, the hard work that goes into preparing a vibrant meal in your own kitchen, and the rich sense of comfort that comes with the familiar voices in the nearby room, waiting for the meal. The whole process of bringing food from garden to table encourages us to slow down and appreciate what we have around us. As mentioned earlier, food tends to mean the most when it is shared with those we consider our family and friends. Recently, it seems as though TV dinners, ready-made meals, and eating on the fly has become the norm in our busy lives. The fast paced nature of our society has not only taken over what we eat, but also HOW we eat. Now it is important to bring those elements of tradition and community back into our relationship with food, and recognize the meaning that this has.
Food production allows our ‘families’ to grow; it ties together people from all walks of life. In particular, sustainable food systems create a network of connections by reaching out to people through something that typically brings familiarity. Food production keeps networks local, and cultivates a sense of pride surrounding both what has been produced and how it spreads to positively impact individual lives. Most importantly, local food production creates this community where individuals get to shine in relation to one another. It seems like there is a reciprocal relationship between food production and community. As individuals get to grow food with the people they care about, this increases their excitement about the ability and concept of local food production. As food production increases, more opportunities are created to experience that sense of nostalgia, tradition, and passion with others.
What can we do?
Life is busy. That’s a fact. But food production does not have to be a long, extensive process. Engaging with local food movements, making a few homemade meals a week, checking out a local farmers market, or starting up a small garden are a few simple ways to build our relationships with food and, as a result, build our relationships with the community.