Eating locally can be religious and spiritual

July 20, 2010 at 7:50 am

Ethical Eating

If you are trying to convince your friends to eat more locally, and they aren’t quite convinced, here’s another angle to take.

Eating locally can be religious and spiritual for some, as seen in a segment of “Religion and Ethics Newsweekly,” which airs on PBS.

I was watching the show over the weekend, and was intrigued how a number of people feel eating locally is part of “ethical eating” and is incorporated into their spiritual and religious perspective.

Mary Jo McMillin, a cookbook author from the Chicago suburbs interviewed in the segment, walks about a half mile to a garden she has in a public park:

Going to the garden is part of a spiritual practice for me. I use that time to think about what I’m thankful for, and to try to remember people in my past that I’m thankful for, and my family that surrounds me now. It’s just my daily meditation. I feel I’m in a place where things are really alive, and growing.

The segment touched on the way animals are treated in factory farms, and how steering away from their products is a conscious choice.

“I think we need to make food a priority because food touches so much. It touches personal health, it touches education, the social development of people, right, as well as touching economic issues and ecological issues. So food needs to be a priority,” said Norman Wirzba, professor of theology, ecology and rural life at Duke University.

Kate Forer is an ordained minister who manages a garden in Cedar Grove, North Carolina.

Having the experience of planting a seed and having the faith that it’ll grow into a plant that will eventually sustain me is a spiritual experience. And ultimately I really, really feel like food is a sacred gift from God and that’s something that we tend to forget about in our culture.

Time, money, and convenience are usually cited as reasons to not eat locally. But if priorities are really important, they will find a way to make it work for them. All they need is a reason.

You can watch the segment for yourself by clicking here. The program normally airs on WTTW’s 11-2 channel and on WYCC-20.