2020 has been quite the year. We’ve seen the trend of catastrophic weather events continue to grow in severity, a pandemic that has caused extreme disruption, loss of life and exposure of tremendous fragility and inequality within society, and are in the final stages of a taxing election cycle which has seen incredible polarization.
I don’t know about you, but I’m going to take a deep breath…
Over the past six months I’ve experienced a consistent loss of focus on what is truly important and am finding myself constantly working to ground myself in the present moment, the most important one.
That isn’t to say attention shouldn’t be paid to the past or future. We have tremendous tools at our disposal in this day and age which help us look into the past to improve life for not only ourselves, but others in the future.
I draw attention to this as it is my opinion that the foundation of mental health and grace in the world comes from a strong and firm connection with the present moment.
We must be in good standing with friends and family. We must be fed. We must breathe. We must understand our contact with the physical world: my two hands are currently resting on my computer keyboard and the soreness in my butt from sitting for too long today is beginning to grow.
Sometimes grounding ourselves makes us aware of our personal needs that may not seem important when focusing on work, childcare or what’s happening with the world in general.
I came across a figure that I find particularly expedient in the current context. It is of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs and if you haven’t heard of it, you’re not alone. I came across it only a few hours ago.
Ultimately, this figure represents our individual needs ranging from those that are more foundational (physiological, safety) to those we strive for in life (love and belonging, esteem, self-actualization).
What I want to note within this figure is the inclusion of food as a physiological need. I would agree with it’s placement in the most basic form, but doesn’t food also have incredible importance in the other tiers of the hierarchy?
- (The Second Tier): Security and safety are in a lot of ways dependent on our physical health and mental well-being; two things which our food choices have proven to influence directly.
- (The Third Tier): Love and belonging are ingrained in the very community of local food. Local food has such a rich and diverse history in this country we all find joy in being a part of.
- (The Fourth Tier): Self-esteem is essentially self-respect and having choice in what we eat works to promote that. It is important to recognize that this choice is a privilege in our current societal framework though, and introduces us to another debate about the human right to this choice. We may ask, as we ground ourselves, if it is unwise in the long term to have personal dignity depend in so many ways on the ability to get lucky.
So, in my perspective, food is so much more than The First Tier: a physiological need.
For all its interconnection and intersection within our lives, it provides us with joy and sustenance, and gives me excitement to continue to be a part of the food system day-in and day-out; both as a consumer and distributor.
Ask yourself, “Do I have what I need to be comfortable living right now?" If not, who or what may help you to achieve that? If so, who may be in need of something that you can give?
Each time I’ve pondered current events in the past couple weeks I’ve come back to food. Its importance and its power in creating community, something we need like nothing else right now. This is too often forgotten.
There will certainly be times ahead where our energy and attention will be needed as participants within larger movements, so don’t just take this moment and forget it as you move on to the next.
Use your ability to live in the present and to acknowledge your needs and those of your community to live more harmoniously with your surroundings, the things that shape you. The food that shapes you.
I think we’ll find the more people that are able to take a breath and appreciate the now, the better the outlook for the future will be.
~Cole Dickerson, Owner
ABC Provisions: feel good about what you're eating.