As my husband was out of town, my daughter and I spent Easter dinner as a guest at the home of my dearest friend’s parents, Ken and Gioia. I’ve gotten to know Ken and Gioia very well over the last few years, but this was one of those small family celebratory dinners that only a handful of people are privileged to experience.
The table was set with Sicilian specialties. At each setting there was a colored egg with a message inside that read: Renew Yourself. The Time is Now! That’s my Gioia.
You see, Gioia, in addition to being a wonderful cook is a world renowned storyteller. She’s perfected this art form. At the dinner table, in front of the fireplace, anywhere she happens to be, she weaves tales the way we breathe.
She speaks, however, in a multilevel language, a language of the ancient that blends with the language of the ordinary. I feel at home and listen like a pilgrim who has arrived at the home of a sage.
Gioia sways as she speaks, her hands expressive, plucking notes from the air, her eyes fearless, her voice both commanding and gentle. When she starts a story, the children look at her with an expression of love for their Nonna. And because they are a bit young to understand her archetypal way of thinking, they seem a bit mystified yet delighted as well.
Gioia talked about spring, of renewal, of the ability to begin fresh, to realign ourselves, to reinvent ourselves. We all talked about the older wisdom of cultures and how they developed to hold us, like a cradle.
Ken and Gioia are in a way, my elders. They've created a home where special food is shared, where conversation flows, where ideas are heard, opinions are explored. Young and old -- everyone has a say, or may just listen and learn. At all ages, everyone is respected. This kind of food and celebration feeds both the body and the soul. Yes, we all need more celebrations and connections to each other to lead a happy and healthy life.
Help Spread the Word:
You Can Buy Seeds with SNAP Benefits!
Following the theme of spring and nourishment for the body and soul, I'm on a one-person awareness campaign about how recipients of SNAP / Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formally called Food Stamps) can buy seeds and food producing plants.
I nearly fell off my seat when a colleague told me this little known fact. The implications are so big and far-reaching. Not counting all the other benefits of growing your own food, one single dollar can grow about $10 to $50 worth of food. It goes hand-in-hand with the farmers' market, where you can purchase seeds and plants, to the community garden movement, where you can learn the skills needed to grow your food communally, to nutrition and self empowerment. One can learn resourcefulness, how how to start some container gardening or begin plots in creative places to feed your family. The SNAP program may be the equivalent of the adage about teaching someone how to fish!
Yes, there are some challenges to urban gardening, but I'm at a loss as to why there's been so little promotion to let folks know that they can purchase food-producing plants and seeds in rural communities. How did we get sucked into this culture of processed food that is so devastating to our health and well-being? How did we get so removed from our food source?
Connecting with fresh food is as simple as using about $3 worth of SNAP benefits to purchase one tomato plant that can be placed in a 5 gallon bucket that has drainage holes, or straight in the ground in a sunny place. And there you go -- a season of tomatoes!
I'm awaiting the posters I ordered. You can order some as well. Help spread the word! This is an example of a systems change. And this one is a real game changer.
Here's the official website:
Here's a SNAP Garden Toolkit:
They are on Facebook:
Here's a good article: http://www.americanownews.com/story/19881783/parent-uses-food-stamps-to-start-a-garden
Plus a promo Youtube Video: