In order to raise awareness about our food and farming system we asked the people in our community to complete the phrase “Food is…” We received responses from all over the United States, Brazil, Haiti, Mexico and Palestine.
Responses ranged from one word to poems and essays and illustrated what Grassroots International has known since we launched our Resource Rights Initiative—people around the world have a lot to say about our food and farming system and recognize that it is more than a simple commodity.
We have posted a few of our favorite poems about food. Grassroots board member Charlotte Ryan shares memories of the power of a simple soup to get us through the darkest times in their life and National Family Farm Coalition board member Dena Hoff shares her lovely vision of the power of shared food.
All of the responses are provocative and inspirational and point to exciting new ways of envisioning and valuing our broken food system.
Please let us know if you feel like we’ve left anything out.
Food is life.
Food is love.
Food is to the body what poetry is to the soul.
Food is one of the cruelest weapons of war.
Food is my mother standing over the stove stirring a big pot of chicken and dumplings, dropping the dumplings in one by one and making sure they are just right in shape, size and taste.
Food is the sacred ambrosia that fortifies bodies and links the hearts of those who share it.
Food is better when eaten with family and friends.
Food is often a pain in the ass.
Food is the co-creation of people and nature.
Food is imported, exported, digested.
Food is as simple and complicated as life itself.
Food is the most wonderful part of my life … aside from my new fiancée.
Food is dependent on oil.
Food is sustenance, politics, power, culture, family and art.
Food is the anytime gift.
Food is a basic human right.
Food is central to so much. When I worked in a shelter for battered women everything centered around what happened in the kitchen. If the women were able to negotiate and plan out together what and when they were going to feed themselves and their children then it meant that things were harmonious in the house. If they couldn’t, then it was a clear indication of deeper problems in the house…that other things were going on.
Food is divine.
Food is material consisting essentially of protein, carbohydrate, and fat used in the body of an organism to sustain growth, repair, and vital processes and to furnish energy…something that nourishes, sustains, or supplies.
Food is best when papaya and pineapple are at the table.
Food is plants and animals tossed into broth, made malleable, on pit, iron kettle, and with herbs, kebobs, often sugar bubbled down into syrup, berries in summer, roots in winter, starch mixed water browned on a skillet, sparse to many and complained about by few.
Food is the gift of the sun in vitamin form, energy for the soul. Food is the sun’s energy transformed into colors to feed us many. Food is light, the fuel of life. Food makes living fun it keeps us happy and energized.
Food is nutritious and delicious, full of flavor and varying texture. It is made with care and thought in that the receiver will enjoy the final presentation for we all know that it is all in the presentation. Food is meant to be eaten slowly and savored for every taste and sensation, not eaten quickly between a course of events. And hopefully for conscientious consumers, food is the spectacular result of local farmers’ hard work and sustainable practices, of well-cared for living beings that were harvested to sustain others.
Food is essential, meaning it is necessary, and that it is key to the very essence of life.
Food is that which gives us energy and sustenance so that we can be productive members of society.
Food is one of the few things that belong to the group of things we need as well as to the group of things we want.
Food is absolutely essential, and therefore should be guaranteed.
Food is a political issue that gets tossed like a salad with poverty, women’s rights, social struggle, corporate vs. individual rights, scientific « progress ». it is an odd combination of ingredients. Every mouthful has a political and social ingredient.
Food is…the most important thing. In our comfy American lives we don’t realize that food is so precious, and that most of the human endeavor is geared to making sure we have enough of it. Not to mention it is one of life’s greatest pleasures.
Food is a slice of heaven, a chance to indulge the senses and satisfy your cravings. It is a necessity and a delight.
Food is best when you have grown it yourself, watered it yourself, harvested it yourself, and cooked it yourself!
Food is a reward we reap from the earth to nourish our bodies and bring us closer together.
Food is anything that is consumed by a living thing to provide energy and matter for maintenance of life functions. Food is very complicated in terms of the types of energy and matter provided. For heterotrophy like humans, food is usually some other living thing, and therefore contains thousands of chemicals manufactured by other life forms, some storing energy and some serving as building blocks for cellular machinery. Most of them are useful to us in some way; many of them are essential to life. Billions of years of evolution has given organisms like us very complex stimulus-responses towards the promise of food, so much so that satisfying these instincts has taken on a social and aesthetic function as well as a nutritive one. So for many humans, food may be more than energy; it may be recreation, art, a spiritual symbol, an addiction or a disease.
Food is sustenance, community, comfort, and culture. It is a basic need that can show our separation and inequality or unite us because it is one of the things we all share. Food is needed by every living thing in order to survive. Food is like friends. We all should have plenty of both. Food is the means for human survival. Once people have taken care of their need to survive, then food becomes many things including: comfort for people, a way to socialize and gather, and a way to bring together family and friends.
Food is a small act of nature, consumer vanquishing consumed, that is smuggled into my computerized, concrete box life. And, much like the weed that sprouts in a sidewalk crack, reminds me that I am always, inevitably, a part of the natural world.
Food is the gift of the earth. Food is necessary, but not sufficient.
Food is the connection to family, to tradition and to the world.
Food is a right not all have access to. Food is best when it’s a pizza or some pupusas or even some frijoles con tortillas. Food is access to power. Just like power, it is addicting to those who have too much of it.
Food is delicious. I am usually very happy when I am eating. However, recently I’ve become bored with food. I’m looking for new flavors and textures, but everything is pretty much the same. Sometimes I wish food was not such a necessity of life, but something you could partake in for the sheer enjoyment of it.
Food is comfort, fuel, blessing and life. Food is the delicious gift we receive from Mother Earth when we connect water, soil and energy with hard work and love!
Food is a lens through which we can see the injustice in the world: who has it, who grows it, who profits from it and who never has enough.
Food is art. It is the source of nutrition to our body. It is also cultural expression, a way of socializing that distinguishes classes and even social segregation. As vital element, it is strictly related to the notions of access, to the human and social right of obtain quality food and that this right doesn’t prevent others to have it.
Food is the minimum that the government sector should provide to the world population. It is the element that produce and reproduce life. It is the assurance that all human beings must have the opportunity to lead dignified life. It is a right that everyone have to defend.
Food is sovereignty; is dignity, is a right; and overall is life.
Food is more than a meal that will end hunger for a few moments . Food is culture, family, friends and collective celebrations. When we eat a meal from our childhood, we renew our energies in a way that is deeper than the flesh. Good food strengthens the mind, heart, soul and human dignity. It is a pity that not everyone feels happiness in the act of eating. Some food causes the opposite reaction–food that doesn’t come from work because there is no work, food that doesn’t come from the earth since some are landless and the well of rights and history is dry.
Food is at the center of our culture. It can be shared with family and friends in an environment of respect and harmony. However, in a society that is dependent and lacks community life, food is produced fast, it is more artificial and people don’t share. Eating food in a neo-liberal World is a solitary act, that do not produce pleasure and only serves to replace our energies.
Food is sacred. As we say in Mexico, when we die nobody can take back what we danced, sang and ate.May we never forget the recipes of our grandparents, since they contain the spirit and wisdom of our people.
Food is pleasure. Food is typically comprised of little nuggets of delight that with each bite bring happiness to the taste buds. Sometimes food takes a vicious turn and all the pleasure I spoke of above is taken away (ie. tripe or liver) but typically I try to avoid such experiences.
Food is sustenance.
Food is where your day begins and ends.