The Power of Sharing a Meal

Today was a new experience. 

Shared a stage with Dawn, a vegetarian advocate, Dr. Gabor, who's laboring to develop artificially synthesized meat- meaning a meat-like substance replicated from animal proteins that starts out in a petri dish, and Will, who's a good-natured journalist that led our conversation.

This was a departure from the conversations we've had at screenings to this point- often in a room full of farmers, local food advocates, chefs and students.

This conference focused on feeding the world in 2050, with a focus on how agriculture will ultimately impact climate. There were people from so many different arenas- sustainable advocates for major companies like Coke and Pepsi, scientists from universities, journalists, representatives from government, representatives from NGOs, leaders of education, of service. It seemed every few moments a vital piece of the solution was being shared and that if we could just pool the collective ideas- taking the strengths of each perspective- we might be able to reach a starting point for a solution. There are of course challenges when reaching a consensus, compromises perhaps, that become more difficult often as people have more and more passion for or against any measure. And there were disagreements, a few of which I was actively involved in.

There was one moment during the day, where an epiphany broke through. A random group of us- Will- a different Will- this one a farmer at EMU in Harrisonburg, Wesley, a young farmer in Southwest Michigan, Debra- who helped to start an incredible organization called Food Corps- (think Peace Corps for American Agriculture), myself and Jeha (check this)- a scientist based in Vancouver started talking about the power of sharing a meal. Debra mentioned that up until the 1980s, there was a room and a tradition in which members of Congress would sit together and share a meal. This is a comforting thought. In our country, in our world, let us hope that after a conversation we can sit down and break bread together. Perhaps, if Democrats and Republicans occasionally shared a meal together, they might reach a consensus, a compromise and be more able to be productive. It also becomes much more difficult to say negative things about one another, if you know that you'll be sitting down with that person later in the month to eat asparagus.

And in this most contentious of years, a presidential election year, it seems the shades of red and blue are often painted on a few shades darker, with a few more coats. Politicians and citizens often retreat to their camps, and often those issues that bring us apart are emphasized, and those issues that bring us together, forgotten. And among the five of us we had a thought, wouldn't it be refreshing, if this presidential election, President Obama, Governor Romney and Wolf Blitzer changed up the typical format and traded in their podiums for seats around a dinner table. Traded in their thirty second barbs, for thoughtful reflection over mashed potatoes. Because, in the end, we all have more in common than we have apart, and each night, often unaware, across our country, and our world each of us sit down and share a meal together. 


Do you like this post?

Showing 1 reaction

published this page in Ruminations 2012-07-18 12:03:12 -0400