Dear Curiosity Journal,
As a steady swimmer in the sea of sustenance, I sail atop the continual waves of simple daily joys, but sometimes sink to the depths of dark blue. At times the buoyancy of the abundant land keeps me afloat as if no gravity could ground me. At times the tempest tows me under. I’m privileged with some of life’s purest happiness; a peaceful place, vibrant food, fulfilling work, and freedom to play outside, but I’m often overwhelmed with physical labor and financial worry – the well-worn narrative of the farmer. I think of this anomaly as a mirrored microcosm of our cultural disconnection from land, farms, and food. So many people lack what a deep connection to the land provides, but have a sense of financial security, leisure time, and conveniences. I often ponder ways to share/trade/balance/cultivate “the good life” with our community and beyond in ways which move everyone’s meter toward the happy middle. Convenience often comes at the cost of meaningful connection, at least when it comes to food. This concept led us to design an emerging experiment; a participatory dinner party, an intentional style of sharing a meal which aims to deepen connection and shorten the social divide between producer and consumer, the server and the served. This Sunday was our first practice run with a group of 10 friends who harvested and prepared a simple farm to table meal al fresco. We’re identifying obstacles, navigating format, and working out the kinks, but overall, the feedback has been encouraging. After the guests departed, I reflected on how much lighter I felt – having shared both the abundance of the land and the labor. As far as field research goes, our Sunday dinner was pretty top notch, holding the twin joys of nourishing others and being nourished by others.