In this time of giving thanks, I’m reminded of a passage from Braiding Sweetgrass, one of the books we read for the Little Portion Farm book club last year. The author Robin Wall Kimmerer speaks about the indigenous Haudenosaunee practice of the “Thanksgiving Address,” a ritual that occurs whenever two or more gather together. The address, known as the “Words That Come Before All Else,” progresses through a long list of different parts of the natural world—sun, water, trees, birds, stars, and so on—and expresses gratitude and connection with each. As Kimmerer explains, this practice “sets gratitude as the highest priority.” While I have never participated in this particular ritual, the idea of trying to cultivate a mindfulness about all that we depend on resonates deeply with me. I may be biased as a farmer, but I believe this type of exercise is especially fruitful when applied to thinking about food. Imagine the overwhelming gratitude we would feel if we were able to contemplate the complete story of our food each time we sat down for a meal. I pray that we might all carry this spirit of thanksgiving every day of our lives.
Farm & Outreach Coordinator
“Inner peace is closely related to care for ecology and for the common good because, lived out authentically, it is reflected in a balanced lifestyle together with a capacity for wonder which takes us to a deeper understanding of life … We are speaking of an attitude of the heart, one which approaches life with serene attentiveness, which is capable of being fully present to someone without thinking of what comes next, which accepts each moment as a gift from God to be lived to the full … One expression of this attitude is when we stop and give thanks to God before and after meals … That moment of blessing, however brief, reminds us of our dependence on God for life; it strengthens our feeling of gratitude for the gifts of creation; it acknowledges those who by their labours provide us with these goods; and it reaffirms our solidarity with those in greatest need.”-Pope Francis, Laudato Si, par. 225-227
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