At the Kitchen Table

farm freshThose who are around me for any amount of time would probably tell you I spend more hours than the average person thinking and talking about food.  I’ve taken it on as a personal mission, and don’t plan on letting up any time soon.  In the past week food has been in the forefront once again.  I love how much press it’s getting in the news and everywhere in our lives.  I feel hopeful about changes that are taking place in our relationship with food.

Last Friday we received our first delivery of fresh produce at the Seed  from a local CSA called farmyard (  It was inspiring and exciting to see the beautiful food arriving.  I loved seeing parents‘ faces as they picked up their bags.  For some, the produce was an extension of their well-established cooking habits.  For others, it was a new adventure.  One mom commented as she left the building with her bag in hand, “I’m going to call you for recipes.  This is a whole new experience for us.  I’m nervous and excited!”  The bags lined up in the hallway waiting to be picked up made me wish I’d signed up.  I chose not to this time around because we still have so much produce in our garden.  Soon I will be on the list.  I thought about all the great meals these families would be preparing and eating together.  Other writers have also had this topic on their minds.

Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food and The Omnivore’s Dilemna, has a new book called Cooked:  A Natural History of Transformation.  It’s a book about the transformative nature of cooking and the significance of cooking for turning around food-related crises in our culture.  He says:  “Cooking is probably the most important thing you can do to improve your diet. What matters most is not any particular nutrient, or even any particular food: it’s the act of cooking itself. People who cook eat a healthier diet without giving it a thought. It’s the collapse of home cooking that led directly to the obesity epidemic…Cooking links us to nature, it links us to our bodies. It’s too important to our well-being to outsource.”  As I was digesting his wise words, which completely make sense to me, I ran across a poem by Joy Harjo, a native American writer who is a poet, musician and artist.  Her poem “Perhaps the World Ends Here” ( begins with these lines:

“The world begins at a kitchen table.  No matter what, we must eat to live.
The gifts of earth are brought and prepared, set on the table.  So it has been since creation, and it will go on.”

Her words about the kitchen table being a focal point of nourishment in our lives have hovered in the vicinity of my mind these past few days.  We face vast planetary challenges right now and this is an example of how change can happen on a personal level in our own homes, at our own kitchen tables.  By choosing to take the time to prepare and enjoy foods recently harvested from the earth, we not only heal our bodies and our families, but also the planet upon which we live.  It’s a powerful legacy we can leave for future generations.

3 thoughts on “At the Kitchen Table

  1. Mary – agreed. We too belong to a CSA in Massachusetts and know the grower well. I don’t stop there though. After 25 years of providing water (a resource farmers can’t do without) at the CAP to millions of people and thousands of acres of food production, I am now taking my considerable expertise to Australia. I am involved in an even larger water project there. This project will not only make water available to existing farms in Australia but will also open up an almost infinite supply of incredibly fertile land currently not farmed. With the vast majority of China’s population headed to their cities, a food crisis looms, not just for China but for everyone. Water will play an increasingly important role in our survival and using it wisely will be the one thing that will help solve food shortages world-wide. And yes, I do stand to gain financially from the effort, so its a win-win for me. Before long, other countries will catch on that their survival depends on their ability to shepherd this most precious resource. We can live without oil, but not so with water. Food is very important, but without water, nothing is possible.

    1. Well said, Dave. I fully agree and am grateful there are people on this planet doing the work you do.

  2. I have been recently transforming my relationship with food. I work with students who struggle to make ends meet and often find themselves without enough food to feed their families. In order to help them, I have spent considerable time seeking out resources. One of my favorites has become Market on the Move (MOM), where for $10 you can get up to 60lbs of fresh produce. In concert with my personal transformation, I went to my first MOM event last weekend and acquired tomatoes, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, red peppers, poblano peppers, and squash. These items tasted better than anything I’ve purchased from any grocery store ever! The added bonus of getting way more for my money is pretty great, too! The sad part is, there was still A LOT of produce remaining when I left and all of it will go to waste. I’m not sure what happens to the left over produce, but it’s a shame that so many will go hungry or will eat far less nutritious items when all of that great produce was there for the taking.

    Thanks for being a bit obsessed with food! Your influence has definitely played a part in my own food transformation!

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