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Author Topic: Eating Locally as a Relational Practice  (Read 1781 times)

Darkhawk

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Eating Locally as a Relational Practice
« on: July 21, 2012, 11:51:30 am »
I spend a lot of time thinking about the theology of food.  (In significant part because the culture I live in is so fucked up about food that if I could address that with healthy theology it would be amazing, heh.)

In Kemetic thought, food is related to a lot of things, but importantly it is etymologically linked to the vital life-energy soul, the ka.  Nourishing the ka is one of the things that happens when we make offerings (a bit of offering liturgy is "may your ka be fed"), and so on.  Further, as social primates, food and sharing food is part of how we build and support relationships.  This is not a small thing to spend some braincycles on.

A week or two ago, I had a sudden comment that - as food is basically a bloodflow of a community - and as we subscribe to a farm share in part because of supporting community farms and so on - that perhaps this process is part of building relationship with the land spirits within a community.  And rambling about the way the heavily shipment-oriented food supply kind of distributes the land we can connect to in this particular intimate and intense way, because it's just too big.  (I think I was not making enough sense to be either convincing or coherent at the time. ;) )

So of course I'm puttering along with this notion in my head, and reading Orion Foxwood's Faery Teachings a few days later and there's a note in there about how people form relationships with land spirits through eating food that was cultivated on that land.  Heh!

Has anyone else thought about this sort of thing?
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Re: Eating Locally as a Relational Practice
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2012, 01:00:02 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;65319

So of course I'm puttering along with this notion in my head, and reading Orion Foxwood's Faery Teachings a few days later and there's a note in there about how people form relationships with land spirits through eating food that was cultivated on that land.  Heh!

Has anyone else thought about this sort of thing?

 
Why yes, yes I have.    

I have theory that the more traveled and more processed a food is the further it becomes separated from the spirits of the land and plants that it came from.  Something can be so processed and refined and then so far removed from its origins that it essentially becomes a dead thing (in an animistic sense).  By eating what is grown and produced locally, we help tie ourselves not just to our communities, but to the local land spirits.

I'm fortunate to live in a community that is almost fanatical in their love and support of local foods, so I may be a little biased here.
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yewberry

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Re: Eating Locally as a Relational Practice
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2012, 01:39:14 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;65319
So of course I'm puttering along with this notion in my head, and reading Orion Foxwood's Faery Teachings a few days later and there's a note in there about how people form relationships with land spirits through eating food that was cultivated on that land.

Has anyone else thought about this sort of thing?

This is kinda-sorta the foundation of my beliefs.  While I don't and can't live as closely to the land as a true agrarian would, I do grow a decent percentage of my own produce and am always looking for ways to grow more.  The food I grow and eat here ties me intimately to this place.  The beings (essences/energies) I honor are the spirits of this land under my feet.  They provide and fail to provide food for me and mine.  If they have a reason for doing either, they keep it to themselves.

But I put out seasonal offering plates of food and drink anyway, which are consumed by the animals and microorganisms that live here, completing the circle (for me at least).  I've never gotten the impression that our "relationship" is meaningfully reciprocal, though.  Or honestly that the land and its spirits know me as an individual.  My attempts at communication are about me, not them/it.

I have an unfortunate tendency to ramble whenever this topic comes up.  But I view this stuff the way you view a star at night with the naked eye: indirectly.  I always hope to catch little glimpses of "Truth" and experience moments of ecstatic connection (along with the more pedestrian pleasures of a full belly).  Even without the woo-woo, it's hard to deny an intimate link when sustenance is involved.  As a mother nurses her babes, so the land provides.  Doesn't get much more connected than that.

Brina
« Last Edit: July 21, 2012, 01:41:02 pm by yewberry »

Wickerman

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Re: Eating Locally as a Relational Practice
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2012, 02:10:59 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;65319



A week or two ago, I had a sudden comment that - as food is basically a bloodflow of a community -

 
It isn't just food, it is all raw materials, from locally sawn building materials, to local paving stones, to local wood for heat. Food is more obvious, but all 'value' derives from the land. It is the source of all 'value' entering an economy. The flow of that 'value' is the blood flow you are seeing.
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yewberry

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Re: Eating Locally as a Relational Practice
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2012, 02:52:14 pm »
Quote from: Wickerman;65336
It isn't just food, it is all raw materials, from locally sawn building materials, to local paving stones, to local wood for heat. Food is more obvious, but all 'value' derives from the land. It is the source of all 'value' entering an economy. The flow of that 'value' is the blood flow you are seeing.

 
Indeed.  Even if you just count the raw materials my land has provided for gardening (bean poles from alder thinnings, etc.) it's a big contribution.

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Re: Eating Locally as a Relational Practice
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2012, 03:19:53 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;65319
I spend a lot of time thinking about the theology of food.  (In significant part because the culture I live in is so fucked up about food that if I could address that with healthy theology it would be amazing, heh.)

In Kemetic thought, food is related to a lot of things, but importantly it is etymologically linked to the vital life-energy soul, the ka.  Nourishing the ka is one of the things that happens when we make offerings (a bit of offering liturgy is "may your ka be fed"), and so on.  Further, as social primates, food and sharing food is part of how we build and support relationships.  This is not a small thing to spend some braincycles on.

A week or two ago, I had a sudden comment that - as food is basically a bloodflow of a community - and as we subscribe to a farm share in part because of supporting community farms and so on - that perhaps this process is part of building relationship with the land spirits within a community.  And rambling about the way the heavily shipment-oriented food supply kind of distributes the land we can connect to in this particular intimate and intense way, because it's just too big.  (I think I was not making enough sense to be either convincing or coherent at the time. ;) )

So of course I'm puttering along with this notion in my head, and reading Orion Foxwood's Faery Teachings a few days later and there's a note in there about how people form relationships with land spirits through eating food that was cultivated on that land.  Heh!

Has anyone else thought about this sort of thing?
I always try to buy locally grown food and other products, mainly organics. I also grow my own produce during the Spring, Summer, and Fall. It always makes me feel more connected to the Earth when I use it to produce my own food.
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Juniperberry

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Re: Eating Locally as a Relational Practice
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2012, 06:20:17 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;6531


In Kemetic thought, food is related to a lot of things, but importantly it is etymologically linked to the vital life-energy soul, the ka.  Nourishing the ka is one of the things that happens when we make offerings (a bit of offering liturgy is "may your ka be fed"), and so on.  Further, as social primates, food and sharing food is part of how we build and support relationships.  This is not a small thing to spend some braincycles on.

A week or two ago, I had a sudden comment that - as food is basically a bloodflow of a community - and as we subscribe to a farm share in part because of supporting community farms and so on - that perhaps this process is part of building relationship with the land spirits within a community.  And rambling about the way the heavily shipment-oriented food supply kind of distributes the land we can connect to in this particular intimate and intense way, because it's just too big.  (I think I was not making enough sense to be either convincing or coherent at the time. ;) )

So of course I'm puttering along with this notion in my head, and reading Orion Foxwood's Faery Teachings a few days later and there's a note in there about how people form relationships with land spirits through eating food that was cultivated on that land.  Heh!

Has anyone else thought about this sort of thing?

 
We do buy locally but it relates differently in heathenry. When we purchase honey from the local honey farm that doesn't create a relationship between me and that man's wights. He does the work and lives alongside  them, not me. My patronage (his profit) is just a result of their and benefit to their reciprocal  relationship. Likewise, when I gave squash to the parents of my son's friend, it doesn't give them a relationship with my wight. What have they provided to it?  But then, food and plant life doesn't contain the actual spirit of the wight in heathenry. Food/fertility is just what the wight provides.

On the other hand,  I do feel that buying locally can build a positive relationship with a community wight. (All things are wights, even gods.) Matronae Ettrahanea, for example, was the wight/goddess of her cultural tribe. Her name literally means "community, district of Etrates". When I buy locally, then I'm connecting and strengthening the ties with the wight god concerned with local prosperity and frith of community, and a relationship is created in that way.
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Re: Eating Locally as a Relational Practice
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2012, 07:36:00 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;65360

On the other hand,  I do feel that buying locally can build a positive relationship with a community wight. (All things are wights, even gods.) Matronae Ettrahanea, for example, was the wight/goddess of her cultural tribe. Her name literally means "community, district of Etrates". When I buy locally, then I'm connecting and strengthening the ties with the wight god concerned with local prosperity and frith of community, and a relationship is created in that way.

 
What she said, mostly.  I'd like to add, that the strengthening of the buyer-seller relationship strengthens both parties.  And when both parties are stronger, they, in turn, strengthen others.  A compounding effect.  (You just have to be careful not to strengthen into brittle rigidness)

A while ago, Sannion or Dver mentioned how the area around where they've begun regularly offering to the Nymphai has become more healthy, with better vegetation.  Whoever it was pointed out the reciprocal nature of most religions that interact with nature spirits, displaying the vegetation as proof enough for them.
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Juniperberry

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Re: Eating Locally as a Relational Practice
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2012, 08:08:39 pm »
Quote from: drekfletch;65367
What she said, mostly.  I'd like to add, that the strengthening of the buyer-seller relationship strengthens both parties.  And when both parties are stronger, they, in turn, strengthen others.  A compounding effect.  (You just have to be careful not to strengthen into brittle rigidness)

A while ago, Sannion or Dver mentioned how the area around where they've begun regularly offering to the Nymphai has become more healthy, with better vegetation.  Whoever it was pointed out the reciprocal nature of most religions that interact with nature spirits, displaying the vegetation as proof enough for them.


Hmm. You might ask them if a tree or some other feature us growing weird (wyrd). This is usually a good indication that a wight has taken up residence, or, if the wyrd feature is old, that one has lived there for a long time.

Is curious.
The pace of progress in artificial intelligence (I’m not referring to narrow AI) is incredibly fast. [...] The risk of something seriously dangerous happening is in the five year timeframe. 10 years at most.--Elon Musk

I am in the camp that is concerned about super intelligence," [Bill] Gates wrote. "First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent. That should be positive if we manage it well. A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don\'t understand why some people are not concerned."

Sharysa

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Re: Eating Locally as a Relational Practice
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2012, 09:07:40 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;65319
I spend a lot of time thinking about the theology of food.  (In significant part because the culture I live in is so fucked up about food that if I could address that with healthy theology it would be amazing, heh.)


Yep, most mass-produced food is screwed up, but what other choice do industrialized societies have? Most of us either don't have the resources/skills to grow our own stuff (aside from supplemental herbs/fruit), or we just don't have the time to do so.

Quote
Has anyone else thought about this sort of thing?


Yes, but not quite religiously. I think of it more in "being responsible for/with the land (and saving money while I'm at it)."

Last month, we ran out of butter early and since we were at Trader Joe's for my niece's part of the groceries (she's vegetarian), we decided to get some butter to avoid driving all the way across town to our normal store. Since Trader Joe's is the main organic-food chain, guess what happened when I first tried organic butter.

I'm literally dreading when the last stick runs out and I have to start eating "normal" butter again. Interestingly enough, I'm actually eating less of it because the flavor is too strong and complex to eat every day. I used to eat two slices of toast in about five minutes--now I take at least ten minutes for the same two slices because it tastes too damn good to just scarf down.

Same thing with organic fruit; organic fruit technically isn't perfect and shiny like mass-grown fruit, but the colors are way more vibrant, and they taste better since they're not picked early due to shipping needs. I realized a long time ago that fruit is only shiny because of the (edible) wax they put on it, and... yeah, I don't like having to scrub off wax (and pesticides) just to eat some fruit.

When I move out, I have plans for a container garden to cut down on food costs.

...After which I'll be more able to afford the organic stuff that I can't get right now.
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Wickerman

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Re: Eating Locally as a Relational Practice
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2012, 10:56:50 pm »
Quote from: Sharysa;65383
Yep, most mass-produced food is screwed up, but what other choice do industrialized societies have?




 
GMO's are indeed screwed up.
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Wickerman

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Re: Eating Locally as a Relational Practice
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2012, 11:03:34 pm »
Quote from: Aisling;65326
Why yes, yes I have.    

I have theory that the more traveled and more processed a food is the further it becomes separated from the spirits of the land and plants that it came from.  Something can be so processed and refined and then so far removed from its origins that it essentially becomes a dead thing (in an animistic sense).  By eating what is grown and produced locally, we help tie ourselves not just to our communities, but to the local land spirits.

 
One can build relationships with wrights living on ones own property, but you can also build relationships with other wrights in the area. Wrights after all recognize their own boundaries, not necessarily ours.

What do you guys think of saving seed for replanting next year? In my opinion this is another way that we build relationships with the land. The seeds grown here, will adapt to this area, they become a part of the local flora so to speak.
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drekfletch

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Re: Eating Locally as a Relational Practice
« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2012, 12:53:28 am »
Quote from: Juniperberry;65376
Hmm. You might ask them if a tree or some other feature us growing weird (wyrd). This is usually a good indication that a wight has taken up residence, or, if the wyrd feature is old, that one has lived there for a long time.

Is curious.

 
Sorry, can't help there.  It was in a blog.  From a long while ago.  Possibly the Nymph Oread festival they have, which recently recurred.  So it might have been a whole year ago, or more.
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Annie Roonie

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Re: Eating Locally as a Relational Practice
« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2012, 01:48:51 pm »
Quote from: Darkhawk;65319
Has anyone else thought about this sort of thing?

Yep. I did that 100 mile diet for most of a summer. I hated it so much. I was spoiled by that infamous Chef Boyardee and the Cheez Whizard growing up and eating healthy has been a struggle. And eating locally, means eating more healthy. None of them grow spaghettios much less my beloved ravioli.

I did it more for the experiment but used the ecological, economical and health issues (each meal was a contemplation of the concepts) to get me through the sometimes boring drudgery that meals can become with little variety and acquiring new tastes. And what I got out of it was an understanding that buying local is a luxury and I am going to treat it like that with all things not just food. And it is a luxury in which I will permit myself indulgence.

It's still a work in progress for me to put my money into the local system, and it will take time, but the personal policy is set and if more people do it, the market will follow. It already has in many cases.

As far as plant spirits go, I think the plant has to want to send that along with its gift of food because I didn't feel it there in the fresh local grown things the way I do with the stuff I grow at home and eat. But that could just be me. I don't feel plant spirits in foods that come from the market either. Sometimes at roadside stands, but it's rare for me.

As far as land spirits go, I have no idea. I try to live in thankfulness and care for the environment but have no idea if I am pissing them off. They can tell me about it after I die if I have because it is very unlikely that I will hear their complaints now.

I want to continue to grow my own and expand. It was a sad few years there when I didn't have a little kitchen garden. I had not realized how much I would miss it.


Quote from: Wickerman;65391
What do you guys think of saving seed for replanting next year? In my opinion this is another way that we build relationships with the land. The seeds grown here, will adapt to this area, they become a part of the local flora so to speak.


I think that's a great idea!

I have not preserved any seeds or bulbs of my own, but still use those saved by other family members. Some of whom are dead now. They're all flower seeds and bulbs but I'd like to do foods that way. The plants adapt to new surroundings and grow differently in each place they're planted of course but that also tells a story of a family and how it moves and who cares to plant. At least it does for us. And yes, I get all flowery about it and think that some of our history is written in the folds of zinnia petals from seeds that have been passed on for years.


Sorry for going on. Sheesh.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2012, 01:49:38 pm by Annie Roonie »

Wickerman

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Re: Eating Locally as a Relational Practice
« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2012, 03:17:05 pm »
Quote from: Annie Roonie;65461



 

I think that's a great idea!

I have not preserved any seeds or bulbs of my own, but still use those saved by other family members. Some of whom are dead now. They're all flower seeds and bulbs but I'd like to do foods that way. The plants adapt to new surroundings and grow differently in each place they're planted of course but that also tells a story of a family and how it moves and who cares to plant. At least it does for us. And yes, I get all flowery about it and think that some of our history is written in the folds of zinnia petals from seeds that have been passed on for years.


Sorry for going on. Sheesh.

 
If you need help with any particular variety, let me know. I am an heirloom seed farmer for a local company. Some things like tomato are a little bit tricky to save. Most vegetables are easy though. Squash take some special handling if you do more than one variety.

We also operate a local trade network, where in very little money changes hands. One local crop is traded for another etc. It is a good way to get to know your neighbors.

I have never liked the idea of farm shares, because they sort of isolate people from the work associated with farming. But if it is all that you can do then do it. The Fed is making it increasingly difficult for small farms to sell produce, eggs or meat. So farm shares seem to work to get around that, but I have still heard of a few cases where the farmers were prosecuted anyway. These cases mostly concerned raw milk. Their are a few people here that are labeling 'not for human consumption', which so far has worked.
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