The Modern Food Dilemma

Our Broken Relationship With Nourishment and Reciprocity

Like our outer ecology, our inner ecology is severely damaged. The diminution of nutrients in our food has many causes: industrial farming; processed food; toxic packaging; eroded soil saturated with pesticides and fertilizers; chemically treated water; inhumanely raised and slaughtered animals; stressed and underpaid farmworkers, chefs, and food servers. The generalized toxic assault on the environment and, therefore, on our bodies, has resulted in a global health crisis of unimaginable proportions. Food, and our relationship with how it’s grown, prepared, handled and ingested, shapes our physical, spiritual, and emotional bodies. Absent a conscious relationship with our food, we remain outside the profound and essential reciprocity that is at the heart of all living systems.

Repairing our bodies and our relationship to that which nourishes us is a deep and complex journey that is personal, physical, spiritual, emotional, and also deeply political. For those of us with histories of chronic health conditions, inflammation, depression, weight loss issues, dental problems, trauma, family disease patterns, etc., this journey can be arduous. Our relationship with the Earth and, specifically, with food, shapes our sense of ourselves and creates the context from which all our decisions and choices are made.

The Earth, Water, Soil, Microbes, Air, Plants and Animals are all sentient beings, with whom our relationships have been decimated. Indigenous people have always understood that feeding and maintaining these relationships is key to keeping Life going. Vitality depends on everything and everyone being in complex, interconnected, reciprocal relationship with everything and everyone else, whether we bring intentionality and consciousness to those relationships or not. Many indigenous (and, increasingly, modern western) people understand that plants and animals receive explicit instructions from the Elements as to how to live, ie how to survive and thrive and be in right relationship with a place, with the Source, and with each other. For humans, whose biological niche is not explicit in the way of most symbionts in the natural world, right relationship with nature and nourishment includes feeding gratitude and beauty to that which sustains us. Mutual feeding is what sustains Life.