Thursday, October 4, 2018

Food is the Common Thread

Food is the Common Thread
by Dennis Testerman

There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace. To avoid the first danger, one should plant a garden, preferably where there is no grocer to confuse the issue. To avoid the second, he should lay a split of good oak on the andirons, preferably where there is no furnace, and let it warm his shins while a February blizzard tosses the trees outside. If one has cut, split, hauled, and piled his own good oak, and let his mind work the while, he will remember much about where heat comes from, and with a wealth of detail denied to those who spend the weekend in town astride a radiator.”
--Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac

“Taste and see that the Lord is good.” Psalms 34:8a (NIV)

Fall has officially arrived in the northern hemisphere. This is the season of county and state fairs. And harvest festivals. Two out of every three of the 900+ CROP hunger walks held annually across the United States take place in the fall. The common thread that connects Indigenous Peoples Day (October 8), World Food Day (October 16), and Thanksgiving (November 22) is food.

I am a member of the first generation born off of an Appalachian mountain cove valley farm that has been in my family since 1789, when the settlement by European Americans of what was then the western frontier was taking place, often in violation of land treaties with First Peoples.

Just one generation separates my cousins and me from the annual rhythms of filling the cellar/smokehouse and woodshed to make it through the winter, at a time when there was no other choice.

A World War II-era victory farm certificate from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture hangs on the wall of our farmhouse which acknowledges our family farm’s contribution to the war effort by raising 75% or more of the food needed to feed our family.

“Peace for the Earth,” the theme for the 2019 Presbyterians for Earth Care biennial conference, serves as a reminder that peace is not possible where food, water and natural resources are not shared equitably and justly. The Native Americans who joined with European-Americans in harvest feasts that were the forerunners of our modern Thanksgiving Day holiday are credited with saving the lives of some of the first settlers.

There is enough food for everyone’s need, but not for everyone’s greed.

Dennis Testerman's ministry of environmental stewardship has spanned three decades of chaplaincy, global and student missions and public service. He currently serves as Moderator of Presbyterians for Earth Care 

1 comment:

  1. There is enough food for everyone’s need, but not for everyone’s greed." In deed.
    May I quote you at our event next week?.
    Please share: