Eating is inherently the most important component of our lives. The reasons why are as fundamental as they are varied; our nourishment and health, as a cultural experience, as acts of joy and love, as an act of participation in our economies and communities, and intentionally connecting to the earth and her bounty. The primal component is sustenance, but every bite is so much more than that. How much you engage in the myriad components of a full meal is up to every individual, but I’ve found that the more I do the healthier my mind and heart are, and the more a part of my community I am.
It is so easy to not engage. Our lives are complicated; daily we face countless split-second decisions, many of which determine what and how we consume. In almost no time our personal systems are overloaded, and taking the choice easily made for us, the choice that requires no engagement can become second nature. Many of us lead lives that demand our time focused elsewhere; overseeing a business, coordinating the moving parts of a family, generally keeping up with life, and taking the time to lovingly craft a meal that engages the multifaceted components that go into it can be near impossible. Some days, the frozen dinner or take-out meal feels like the only realistic option.
Of course, none of this is news. For years the plight of our food system has been fought by joyful radicals, those saving their seeds, investing in small farms, voting every day with their dollars in the grocery store. In this community in particular, I feel we are engaging on an amazing scale. This is born of our eagerness to challenge the status quo, the privileges of this valley and our decisions to use them as best we are able, and the everyday heroes around us working tirelessly to make those decisions accessible to everyone. My intention here is not to get preachy, to tell you how to eat or what to buy. It is simply to take heed of all that is available to us, to take a moment and revel in the fact that we have exceptional locally grown produce right here in the valley, and a bountiful knowledge base (farmers! books! great cooks and chefs!) on how to prepare it. And on top of that, a jam-packed community of people ready to pounce on any opportunity to get together and celebrate over a delicious meal.
Which is not to say you necessarily need to throw a party. This mentality of gratitude can be invoked on any scale; eating a burrito can bring as much joy as a home-grown tomato if consumed with the same intentionality. The simple and ever-challenging piece is to carve out the space to savor whatever it may be. In the Sangha Kitchen our intention is to make that experience both accessible and enjoyable. Our food and drinks are carefully crafted, in the hope that the love and dedication in every piece is truly experienced. Our hope is that sitting down with a simple pot of tea or a delectable grain salad bring the same level of nourishment for your body and your mind. There are abundant ways to engage in gratitude at mealtimes, and we invite you into the Sangha Kitchen, sit back for a moment with something delicious, and practice yours.