Connecting through Community
Here in NWA we are growing our local food scene. From restaurants to farmer’s market, you have opportunities galore!
We all know that connecting through food is completely ingrained into our existence as humans. You may have heard of the “Blue Zone''. The Blue Zone theory studies places around the world that have good health and longevity. They looked at what they ate and how. In America, we seem to focus on looking for the “magic bullet”. In our office, we have a saying for a person who comes in looking for a quick fix. We say, “They are looking for a magic needle.” That’s because in our years of practice we understand that there is no magic acupuncture point, miracle herb, or special diet that fixes everything quickly. It is a lifestyle. It takes a mindful, steady, and committed approach to make changes. If someone comes in and they swing wildly to one side and then the other they feel terrible. One week they are doing juice fasting, the next week they report they ate fast food almost everyday. We must strive for a gentle balance that focuses on connection and practice. The Blue Zone theory talks about how in these healthy zones community, culture, and food align. They have deep traditions and respect surrounding food. They didn’t rely on or demand quick, easy meals. They take the time and put energy into making the meal, carefully choosing local foods, harvesting themselves, and gathering in the kitchen and around the table together. Whether they ate homemade pasta with local cheese or a pure vegetarian diet this culture of community and respect for the quality and process of cooking was present in all Blue Zones. Working directly with the food, having community and communication with the local farmers, picking the food by hand, cooking with the seasons cultivates connection and good health in these communities. They focus on honoring nature, being together, making foods using traditional methods, and sharing with others.
So, what does that look like for us? What are some of NWA’s resources? What are we known for? What are some traditional dishes?
I challenge you to swear off fast food and chains….forever. I have not eaten at a fast food place or chain in 20 years. I’m not joking. My children have never had any fast food. This is how I am cultivating this tradition and culture in my family and circle of friends. I would say that 90% of my close family and almost all of my friends do not eat fast food either. We hold a friendsgiving every year and we have many food traditions including mushroom hunting and wild fruit foraging. We gather and make new dishes and learn about the cultures of our international friends.