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Sunday, October 11, 2015, marks Thanksgiving Celebrations for many Canadians. This year, with books and films like This Changes Everything ( see http://www.naomiklein.org/main) contributing to positive, community approaches to climate crises, supporting and celebrating our local organic food movement is more important than ever before. When we buy from our local organic farmers and regional organic food growers, every meal we eat has the power to help restore the integrity of our physical geography as it strengthens individual health and builds community. When I touch upon the relevance of local food systems to our current state of climate emergency, I’m sometimes met with belligerence born of fear. “Nothing can be done,” often accompanies the outright refusal to shift from eating addictive, health sapping convenience foods because of very real time constrictions, perceived cost prohibitions, and the hopelessness and terror we feel when we think too much about super storms and the other signs of global warming. Although the trauma of climate change is so potentially devastating that we often do all that we can to deny it or at least temporarily forget it, Tapping can help us calm our climate-change fears, neutralize our addiction cravings, and move forward to strengthen our community ties.
Gratitude for the Locavore Movement
These days, locally grown food is everywhere, including farm stands, farmers’ markets, side-of-the-road truck sales, and even our more progressive superstores. Eating locally has become the mantra of whole-food guru Michael Pollan (http://www.ted.com/speakers/michael_pollan#) as well as the community/diversity cry of the sustainability movement championed most intelligently and joyfully by Vandana Shiva (http://www.navdanya.org/). Gratitude for our local harvest allows us to express our appreciation to our home-county growers and at the same time helps to strengthen our belief in personal agency as climate change crises loom. Each time we buy locally grown fruits and vegetables, we are voting for sustainability.
Supporting local organic growers by buying our foods from them may not seem like a political act, but it is. These food dollars are saying yes to crop diversity, strong human communities, and wholesome, nourishing foods; at the same time these food choices are saying no to the big pesticide companies and food conglomerates responsible for the lion’s share of human-caused, climate-crises inducing pollution. Our local growers are our canaries in the coal mine; when they thrive, we do as well. Supporting them through our purchases and our thanks is an act of positive agency that produces emotional, physical, spiritual, and environmental health.
Expressing Gratitude in Person
Recently, as I looked forward to a meal at the Onion River Food Cooperative in Burlington, Vermont, I happened to be serving myself when one of the cooks came out to change a food tray. As he waited for me to make my selection and move on down the line, I looked up at his wonderful young face and wondered what life was like in his kitchen. It was a busy time not at all conducive to conversation, and so rather than asking him about his job, I said simply, “Thank you for doing this work. This food is wonderful.” Before I spoke, this conscientious young man was on automatic pilot, the work mode we embrace when satisfying customers in this kind of hyper-busy environment. My thank you prompted him to look up at me and smile so broadly we both laughed.
It was one of those transforming moments that began with one human being thanking another for a service performed and immediately led to positive human connection. As he completed his task, he said, warmly, “Thanks. That’s good to hear. I’m glad you like it.” We smiled at one another one final time and went our separate ways.
Gratitude carries an energy that dissolves negativity and brings out the best in almost everyone. Growing food – and preparing and serving it – is relentless work. Saying thank you, in person, to those who do it for us is a radical act because we are publicly acknowledging the skill, determination, and endurance required to do well a service we usually take for granted. Our culture is only just beginning to celebrate its local food champions. This harvest, let’s accelerate the process by supporting our local and regional growers with our purchases and our personal expressions of gratitude for the work they do.
Perhaps the best place to catch a farmer in person is at your local Farmers Market. At this time of year these abound, and as our knowledge regarding the impact organic food systems have on environmental and human well being grows, these are becoming a four-season event in many communities. When we visit our Brooklyn family, one of the highlights is a trip to the Farmers Market that sets up along a side street and attracts locals from the surrounding area. Here in Vermont, we have Farmers Markets in almost every small town as well as in the larger centres like Montpelier and Burlington. When we visit our Toronto family, Farmers Market riches abound, some of these so vital to their communities that they are held in permanent buildings and offer goods and services all year round.
The next time you visit a Farmers Market, look around. I’m sure you’ll discover what we see here in Vermont, in Brooklyn, and in Toronto. People aren’t simply shopping at these markets; we are building and strengthening the very best qualities of community. We talk about the food of course, but we often move into political discussions and even personal conversations about the general state of our neighbourhoods. Parents whose children go to school together make play dates and talk about the “Hurry Sickness” that seems to be flooding every area of life. (For a profoundly important exploration of hurry sickness and its antidotes, I urge you to visit http://www.scottishpoetrylibrary.org.uk/connect/podcast/christian-mcewen. World Enough and Time, Christian McEwen’s magnificent book about slowness and creativity, deserves its very own blog post, one I’ll create when winter has enfolded me in its slow, slower, stop embrace.)
Tapping for the Courage to Express Gratitude
Even amid the most lively community gatherings, we can feel shy about expressing gratitude openly. There is a reason for this; not everyone is comfortable receiving thanks. For example, I once stood in a dance circle after a magnificent dance experience and expressed my gratitude to the choreographer only to hear her mimic me in a high unpleasant voice. Thankfully someone in the circle moved on to the next dance and my pink cheeks went unnoticed. This was before my Tapping days, and it took me months to get over the hurt of that public display of rejection because it had been twinned with my expression of joy at dancing a very moving dance. I had occasion to dance with this person several times after this incident and never quite felt safe with her, a troubling consequence because the dance circle has been one of my spiritual homes for more than two decades.
After I began my Daily Tapping Routine, this incident came up during one of my Personal Peace Procedure sessions. I was able to tease out the real cause of my hurt; that my offering of gratitude had been rejected, and in a very public setting, was obvious. What was not obvious was that I had internalized guilt for this experience. Unconsciously, I blamed myself for my feelings of joy and gratitude for her dance. As soon as this insight surfaced, I was able to release the hurt I felt simply by saying “Gratitude is great,” as I tapped, and “That was her stuff; her rejection of my gratitude had nothing to do with me.” and, best of all, “It’s safe for me to express gratitude; what people do with it is up to them.”
Who’s Your Farmer?
This Harvest Season, may we all feel deep gratitude for the local organic foods our growers nurture into the magnificent foods that grace our tables at this time of year. May we also express this gratitude, with our words as well as with our food dollars, to strengthen our community ties and ensure such bounty is with us year after year. If you can, do some long-term investing in your local food system through a Community Shared/Supported Agriculture (see http://www.localharvest.org/csa/) in your community. If you can’t join a CSA, at least offer your gratitude for the food grown by our heroic Mother Earth Workers. And if this seems too scary, simply tap away your fear. If you are afraid of being humiliated as I was, or of being locked out of the joy of gratitude by some high-school experience that twinned your gratitude with the words brownnoser or suck up, Tapping on your right to feel and express all your feelings, including gratitude, will make you feel terrific and help to make the world a kinder, more appreciative place. Tapping for the courage to express gratitude will also make you feel so much more connected to our beautiful Mother Earth, a life giving connection that inspires positive agency in every area of our lives. May you happily give thanks this day and all days!
Until next week
Jane Buchan, MA, AAMET Advanced Practitioner, firstname.lastname@example.org, 802-533-9277
Jane is a Learning Coach specializing in neutralizing cultural age, gender, and race constructs to support learners of every age. To engage her coaching services, please contact Jane by phone (802) 533-9277 or email, email@example.com. Be sure to put Coaching Query in the subject line.