Poverty and Sustainability
Shouldn't we be working on justice issues that make basically, minimally healthful food available to more people before scurrying about trying to fill our own larders exclusively with organic and perfectly nutritious foodstuffs?
I get to go to Whole Foods in my car and read labels and purchase the best, best, best nutrients for my precious bod. Meanwhile, people in Boston nearby have trouble getting a regular old supermarket into their neighborhood, and have to subsist on convenience store fare.
Shouldn't we stop the presses, so to speak, when this is the case around us? I'm not saying I know how to, but I wonder sometimes if all this emphasis on sustainable, fabulously healthful, perfectly produced food is more about the fact that "I, Privileged and Educated White Woman, Deserve To Live Longer and Better Than The Average Joe" than "I Care Deeply About How the Earth Is Being Plundered To Feed Humans." If there was a special Food Gandhi among us, what would he say?
Would he say, "This is like the airplane scenario: use your oxygen mask on yourself first so you can assist someone else?" or would he say, "Hey, before you get to fill your own plates with impeccable offerings, make sure your sisters and brothers nearby at least get to have something better than Doritoes and McDonald's on theirs."
I really don't know. I understand that food is not just political, it is also cultural, and some people want to eat decidedly unsustainable items and want Miss GoodyTwoShoesPants over here to butt out.
I just thought about it yesterday when I was cruising through Whole Foods thinking wow, I have access to all of this. I could walk out of here with nothing but the finest and most healthful food available to any American. Meanwhile, 15 miles from here, I know they don't even have access to a grocery store. Is my shopping at Whole Foods so much about stewardship of the Earth as it is about my own ego-based survival instinct? And if it's the latter, isn't there a more egalitarian way to approach the greening of the food supply question?
In the dark of this Lenten season, I confront my own fear of death. I pray to be brought into deeper spiritual fellowship with all my brother and sister creatures, with a sense of our interconnectedness and mutuality.
Let my unquenchable desire for life not blind me to responsibility to those around me. Make my consciousness of the toxicity of our environment bind me more deeply to others, not flee to the false haven of imagined safety of purchased health. If my neighbor cannot be healthy, then neither can I be. Make us courageous, God, to make necessary sacrifices where we have heedlessly laid waste to Your creation. Amen.