“Breaking Bread” this Thanksgiving

by Cherice Bock
Editor, Whole Terrain

With Thanksgiving approaching, maybe you, like me, are preparing for this, the one of our American holidays that is most fully devoted to food. I am making butternut squash pies from squash I grew, with butter and flour produced in my region, and looking forward to time spent with family this weekend. Tomorrow I will make a potato dish from potatoes I planted and then dug out of the dirt with my own hands.

As you make your own preparations for this national holiday, perhaps it will bring up food-related stories to your mind, and you will pause to think about what you might contribute to Whole Terrain’s “Breaking Bread” volume. See the current call for submissions for more information. The deadline is March 1, 2016. Here are some ways this theme might connect to your Thanksgiving experience:

  • Where does your food come from? Is there brokenness in that supply chain?
  • Musing on the Thanksgiving mythology, what does this story tell us about how to truly “break bread” with others, even immigrants?
  • What does our Thanksgiving mythology tell us about the brokenness of the people who shared that first Thanksgiving (“first” for the European immigrants, that is)? In what ways are (or have been) each of the groups broken, and are there ways you notice each group moving toward wholeness, reconciliation, and a greater ability to live in harmony with this land?
  • What are the effects of breaking bread together in your family? Reconciliation? Ritual? Routine? Avoidance? Gratitude? How does this impact the world around you?
  • Are you concerned about the land, water, pollinators, or other aspects of the ecosystems ensuring the safety and nutrition of our food production? Do you have a story to share about what you are doing about this issue?
  • How are you working to heal the land from toxins or soil nutrient depletion, so that it can again be a healthy space to grow our food?
  • Do you forage for wild food for your Thanksgiving table (or for other meals)? Tell us your story!
  • Are you breaking bread with those from a different culture this Thanksgiving? What is it that like? How does breaking bread together impact your relationships and the planet?
  • In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris and looking forward to the climate talks to be held there next week, what do you find to be grateful for as you break bread with your family this week, and how do the themes of terrorism, climate change, and food security/sovereignty fit into this?
  • As many of us practice gratitude for the abundance of food available to us this weekend, what about those who do not have enough food? In what ways is our globalized food system not serving everyone? Are you doing something about it, and would you share your story with us?
  • What are your family’s or community’s holiday traditions around food, and what do they show about the food system in which you participate?

Looking forward to my own Thanksgiving weekend, I find myself grateful for you all, for this Whole Terrain community. I’m grateful for the inspiring and amazing people I have been in contact with this last year as I have conducted interviews, worked with you on your submissions, and read or watched your creations. I am grateful for the hard work you all do in all your places, and for this venue where we can share our stories and know we are not alone. May your holiday provide rest, connection, and rejuvenation for you to go out and continue in your good work for the healing of the planet.

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