Like I imagine most four-year-olds to be, my son struggles with food variety. He’d eat mac & cheese, pancakes, beets, and fruit snacks exclusively if we let him. Sometimes I tease him: “Eliot, if you put one more beet in your mouth, you might turn into one!”
Yesterday, Eliot and I were exploring the kitchen garden behind the Dining Hall. This weekend he’d been introduced to one of the two new flocks of baby chicks at Camp and discovered raspberries behind the coop with some other children here with their church group. He was elated to share the “secret location” of the berries with me and ate and ate to his heart’s content.
I’m not sure I’d mind if Eliot turned into a Camp Stevens raspberry – or at least emanated their nature. Wild but not too wild, grown naturally without chemicals, nurtured by a community, and able to make the old and the young smile with delight.
While I haven’t heard the term “you are what you eat” specifically used in tandem with the Camp Stevens Food Philosophy, I do think there is a connection. Our food choices are an indication of our values, who we are, or who we’re trying to become.
Here at camp, we value the earth by growing, purchasing, and preparing natural foods and we compost all waste; we are people of community, we eat family style and encourage staff and guests to dig in the gardens alongside one another; and we believe that by doing these things we and our guests will further our reverence toward creation and our respect for one another.
My motivation for living into and promoting intentional food choices comes from my understanding of scripture – that we are to serve and guard the earth God has made and continues to make for the sake of all living things (not just humanity).* Growing, preparing, and composting natural food serves and guards the land, eating meals family style serves others and builds relationships.
It’s not a perfect system: the gardens, the kitchen, the community, or our Food Philosophy in general. Convenience, cost, and people are factors, but we work hard to ensure they are not limiting. What I am sure of is that a stroll through the raspberry patch with a four-year-old is the perfect reminder of how important serving, guarding, and teaching about the earth really is. Perfect or not, it’s a system I’m willing to invest in.
If we are what we eat, what are you?
*The creation stories in Genesis 1 and 2 are a good place to start reading about God’s intention for relationship between all living things on earth – specifically 2:15.
Whim: “sudden idea.” This weekly post promises a number of things: personal thoughts and reflections, showing off Camp Stevens’ programs and staff, announcements for upcoming opportunities, and answering questions or responding to comments “from the audience.” If you have a topic or question you’d like addressed, just e-mail Beth!