When our baby was ready to start solid food, I went to a workshop about feeding kids. The talk had a lot of very useful information about nutrition, and, as expected, suggested rather strongly that organics are best. This didn’t help with my inner turmoil. My brain started whirring: “We can’t afford to eat only organics! We can buy only organics for baby, but then I have to make separate food for her! I don’t have time for this! Of course she will only want the non-organic food off my plate!”
Food has long been an issue of faith for me. The eco-theology I learned at Camp Edgewood’s summer and high-school programs is the reason I am mostly vegetarian and why I try to eat local. An understanding of the earth as sacred has changed both my consumer choices and my community relationships. I often think that we don’t take what we consume seriously enough. I know somewhere in the bible a picnic came down from heaven and a voice told Paul to stop being so picky – but in our day and age shouldn’t we be considering how what we consume connects with our faith?
From Monsanto’s desire to sponsor Canada Food Grains Bank (Red Flag!!!) to paper-like (what are they actually made of!?) communion wafers, faith and food are complexly connected in the ELCIC. But in my home and on a budget, what can I do? (no, I am not going to make the communion bread every week!)
My anxiety about what I put into my baby has been significantly better motivation than my anxiety about what I feed myself. My partner and I have found that it is actually affordable to get a CSA (community supported agriculture) food box. Thanks to Grand River Organics, we pay less than $30 a week for fresh organic local food and we pick it right up from around the corner. Of course, on our budget not everything in our kitchen is organic. However, I would estimate the food box is ¾ of the food we eat in a week.
It took a long time to find an option that works for us at the moment. However, what should be more central to living out one’s daily rituals of faith than food? The dinner table is the extension of the communion table – it is where we literally nourish ourselves with life that rises from death. Fruits and vegetables grow from the compost of decomposing life and bring us life. I guess I take my food theology pretty seriously, maybe a little too seriously, but it really nags at me – how can we ignore the connections between our central ritual, our daily consumption of food and the ripples our consumer choices make in our bodies and around the world?