FORUM 2017: Eating as a Practice of Love and Care.

Submitted by Jacquie Jessup

Food and eating certainly was the theme and the practice of this annual gathering!

Indeed this was a forum focused on the sacredness of food and exploring eating practices. We certainly had an amazing variety of food for thought and food for our bodies!

Dan Jason from Salt Spring Island was our guest presenter along with a variety of Gabriolan voices committed to their passion as related to food and food choices – growing it and eating it! We heard personal stories of transformation, and how ‘love’ impelled each one to consider their own food choices in relationship to the well-being of the earth, seeds, plants, animals, local farmers, community, family and self.

It all began with sharing the Jewish Friday night tradition of Kiddush, a prayer over wine sanctifying Shabbat. The usual prayer for eating bread is recited over two loaves of challah; a sweet eggy bread, shaped in a braid.

This was followed by a “yummy” potluck of a wide and delicious variety of amazing dishes. A hearty thank you to the kitchen team and the contributions of all who made and brought food that kept us all well fed!

The evening panel “Seeds of transformation for love of Earth, our Children, self and our global community” began with Tejomaya offering us a more global point of view; followed by Katie & Dion who offered a local more family oriented vision; Tsiporah offered information about Justice in the Food Industry. Friday evening concluded with Dan Jason sharing his motivation for creating seed banks to preserve varieties of vegetables and crops.

On Saturday Dan once again spoke about his project; “Eating as a spirited practice of care and love for earth, seeds and plants” and then invited the participants to share their questions and concerns. There was also an amazing display of his seeds and books for sale at the back of the room.

After a short break two presenters each gave their point of view about “Eating as a practice of compassion for Animals”. Both shared their personal life experiences that inspired a decision to become either vegan or vegetarian. This too was food for thought.

This was followed by delicious lunch of homemade soup; local bread and humus and a variety of homemade cookies.

After lunch we were given a tour of the new Commons community kitchen; a commercial kitchen supported by islanders by a non-profit for community benefit.

On return there was another panel of speakers who spoke enthusiastically about the need to support and encourage “Eating as a practice of care for local farmers, community and family”.

To conclude two local artists shared their songs and stories about a community of reaching out and sharing “Sunday Soup”

Comment from a participant:

I found this forum thoughtfully provocative and sometimes upsetting. I had an “ah ha” moment and hopefully the “Fires of Transformation” will settle deep within me. Thanks you to everyone that worked so very hard to make this Forum the special event  that it was.
With “love and blessings” Anniken