New Year’s Clock and the concept of New Year and Christmas. Submitted photo

With the placing of Baby Jesus in the Crèche, the last few weeks have seen the climax of the Christmas season. Candles have been lit in the Menorah in observance of Hanukah. Winter Solstice celebrations have been observed as we bid adieu to long hours of darkness. The common thread throughout these winter celebrations, is the strong energy for regeneration, renewal, and reflection. Each offers the opportunity for endings and the offer of hope and space for beginnings that will serve us all well.
2019 saw the awakening of people as they recognized choices that need to be made related to food, as well as recognition of what impact these choices make. There were planting of seeds for eco-conscious food packaging; an advancement of the hemp industry to utilize sustainable hemp growing practices which will provide potential health benefits; fermented foods and “pickled everything” became more common and showed us ways to integrate these into our menus; and fat made a comeback, along with a general shift of consumer mindset.
There were endings that weren’t great but may offer us opportunities to do better. The first that comes to mind is cutbacks in SNAP benefits and donations to food pantries. Each of these should give us pause to consider how we approach social justice to fill the gaps in an imperfect system. Charity is not justice and is dependent on how one is moved to donate and is not sustainable.
I ask myself, in 2020, how will I be able to make a difference in people’s lives that they can feel empowered and be empowered to provide for themselves and their neighbors?
Overall, we may use our opportunities to create larger opportunities for passionate, kind, and thoughtful engagement. We should consider that while we feel strongly about our own choices, our choices may not be the best for other people. All lives are not equal, nor are they equitable. Finally, we may use food to bring people together and know that wherever we gather, and whenever we gather, we can make a positive difference for ourselves and each other.

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