Monday, May 17, 2010

Feeding Each Other

Last week, one of my housemates had a guest at dinner, a young woman who lives and works down south. She was involved with lots of social justice projects, many involving food. At the end of the meal, she made a comment (which I saw as both a reference to the meal and a reference to her work) about how nice it was that we got to 'feed each other'.

Last Friday, I got to be part of helping with a meal prepared by Hearty Meals for All, a group in Somerville, MA, that serves nutritious meals to whomever comes in. Earlier this month, I also helped with a meal prepared by some of the local co-ops for a homeless coalition. I've talked a lot about food as one of our most basic needs. (See for example my posts on Feeding Ourselves in the Future, 7/24/08, and Food (Soil and Seeds), 5/13/09.) Most of my post have been about growing food (most recently Kale, Carrots, and Chard, 3/17/10, and Gardening as Social Change, 5/7/10) but there is something to the idea of just feeding people, particularly those who need it.

When I lived up in Brattleboro a few years ago, I was part of their annual tradition of preparing a Thanksgiving dinner for everyone in the town who wanted to come. Homeless folks wandered in and I've heard that former Bratt residents drove in from New York in their Volvos and Saabs. Volunteers brought meals to housebound folks as well as people (like police and firefighters) who needed to work that day. I enjoyed every minute of it.

I have been inspired by two groups that combine a radical (pretty much anarchist) analysis of society with the work of serving others: Food Not Bombs (the Boston Chapter is having its 30th anniversary celebration soon) and the Catholic Worker Movement (our local affiliate is Haley House). Few people would lump these two groups together but I see them as very similar in spite of the fact that one is a secular group and the other is very spiritually oriented.

I believe that we need to make sure that everyone is getting their real needs met and one of the most basic of those needs is food. Growing food is essential, but feeding each other is wonderful.

Quote of the Day: "There is a lot that happens around the world we cannot control. We cannot stop earthquakes, we cannot prevent droughts, and we cannot prevent all conflict, but when we know where the hungry, the homeless and the sick exist, then we can help." - Jan Schakowsky

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