The Virtue of Soul Food

Kristin is the Food Renegade– an admitted rebel of the real food movement. Her articles are delicious. In Real Food is Soul Food, Kristen struck a major chord in me. She relates the virtues of local, farm-direct food to a spiritual connection. I heard a talk at our Brunswick Ohio event from a vegetable and blueberry farmer. He said when families come to the farm, the children pick blueberries as laying hens scamper around their feet. They touch and feel life and connect to its Creator.

Real Food is old and traditional. It’s sustainably grown, organic, and local. And it nourishes the soul as well as the body.

That’s because finding, cooking, and eating Real Food is a craft. I once heard that cooking was the only art form that uses all five senses. It engages the whole person, and as such rewards the whole person. Preparing Real Food isn’t just about good nutrition or ethics. It’s about becoming the people we are meant to be, becoming more fully human.

Why do I think Real Food is ennobling?

Firstly, because it helps us be producers rather than mere consumers. From the beginning, the story of Real Food is one of individual agency and competence. You save a seed, sprout it, plant it, nourish it, watch it grow, harvest it, prepare it, and then feed yourself and your loved ones a nutrient-dense meal. You can take pride in that. Even if you don’t grow your own food or care for the animals that feed you, you still experience the empowerment of finding that local source of raw milk or the best deal on eggs from pastured hens. You still experience the thrill of savoring perfectly ripe tomatoes, of eating cucumbers absent wax, of mastering traditional food preparation techniques. You can still know the joy of producing something tangible of value.

It’s the joy of work — the experience of the fruits of our labor, of meaning. Even in 1776 when Adam Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations, he saw what the coming tide of industrialization would mean. He saw how it would separate us from meaningful work and turn us into cogs in a machine, how it would take a nation of empowered producers and turn them into dependent consumers. And most importantly, he saw how this would affect our virtue as a people.  Of the worker doing dull, repetitive jobs, he wrote: “The torpor of his mind renders him not only incapable of relishing or bearing a part in any rational conversation, but of conceiving any generous, noble, or tender sentiment, and consequently of forming any just judgment concerning many even of the ordinary duties of private life.”

Real Food is old and traditional. It’s sustainably grown, organic, and local. And it nourishes the soul as well as the body.

That’s because finding, cooking, and eating Real Food is a craft. I once heard that cooking was the only art form that uses all five senses. It engages the whole person, and as such rewards the whole person. Preparing Real Food isn’t just about good nutrition or ethics. It’s about becoming the people we are meant to be, becoming more fully human.

Why do I think Real Food is ennobling?

Firstly, because it helps us be producers rather than mere consumers. From the beginning, the story of Real Food is one of individual agency and competence. You save a seed, sprout it, plant it, nourish it, watch it grow, harvest it, prepare it, and then feed yourself and your loved ones a nutrient-dense meal. You can take pride in that. Even if you don’t grow your own food or care for the animals that feed you, you still experience the empowerment of finding that local source of raw milk or the best deal on eggs from pastured hens. You still experience the thrill of savoring perfectly ripe tomatoes, of eating cucumbers absent wax, of mastering traditional food preparation techniques. You can still know the joy of producing something tangible of value.

It’s the joy of work — the experience of the fruits of our labor, of meaning. Even in 1776 when Adam Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations, he saw what the coming tide of industrialization would mean. He saw how it would separate us from meaningful work and turn us into cogs in a machine, how it would take a nation of empowered producers and turn them into dependent consumers. And most importantly, he saw how this would affect our virtue as a people.  Of the worker doing dull, repetitive jobs, he wrote: “The torpor of his mind renders him not only incapable of relishing or bearing a part in any rational conversation, but of conceiving any generous, noble, or tender sentiment, and consequently of forming any just judgment concerning many even of the ordinary duties of private life.”

Keep reading Real Food is Soul Food.

We would like to hear from our readers about their thoughts on the passions of eating from local farms and their gardens and how the seed-plant-food-eating creation connects them with the Creator.

One response to “The Virtue of Soul Food

  1. Pingback: The Virtue of Soul Food « Journal of Whole Food and Nutritional Health | Sale Holiday

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