How often do we find ourselves in the habit of eating the same things week in and week out? Going to the shops with the same list each week or two? Getting the usual veggies, meats and staple goods?
What if we lived without year round fruit and veg? Meat that had to be caught daily?
Recently our beloved Cara took on a little mission to eat fresh fruit and veg from road side stalls and fresh caught fish from our lake for 21days. As her partner this meant for the 21days I too would be eating predominately from side of the road stalls or catching fish.
During the 21days my eyes were open wide to the abundance of opportunity that surround us. Opportunities to support local growers, to appreciate their efforts, to appreciate good fresh produce, to catch our own fish and only eat what we need, to think outside the box of what we ate and how we eat it, plus many more.
Most of all my level of gratitude for fresh food and the efforts to obtain fresh produce was blown sky high. You see for me the inclining to support locals has been there for a while, for some reason stopping at roadside stalls was something I only thought about. In all honesty there was some fear of the unknown about stopping at roadside stalls. Having grown up in the generation of the supermarket take-overs that slowly dwindled out all the little fruit and veg shops, it seemed to easy to go to the one place and get everything. I never knew what it was like to stop at the stalls.
In an effort to show love and support for Cara I got over my fear and stopped in at one of the many local stalls and was truly humbled by the experience.
The food seemed well priced, extremely well priced actually. The veggies were real, they came in all sorts of shapes and sizes, still had dirt on them and you could feel that they had just been picked. The man looking after the stall came in and simply welcomed me in to check out and take whatever I fancied. He helped me pick the good ones and bagged everything up while I decided on more. When done I paid him what seemed like peanuts for all the fresh goods and said thank you.
It was at that moment, when all was done and the exchange was made that I truly noticed this mans expression. It was a truly open, honest, vulnerable expression of love and gratitude for our exchange. He continued to thank me as I walked away and it was a sincere heartfelt thank you. This exchange made me feel truly blessed for the food I purchased and more so for the opportunity I then provided for this man to keep growing his fresh produce. My money was a gift of more than just dollars and cents to this man. It provide a continued life of service to the local community. This meant he could keep doing what he loved, and love doing it.
For most of the side of the road stalls it was a similar experience. Meeting locals and sharing an exchange that was full of gratitude.
At some stage I called in to a supermarket to get some stock items you may say. This experience left me feeling a little cold, unloved and little down. Certainly the staff are friendly, polite and doing a good job. There was no Love, no gratitude.
To me the difference was that the stall operators associated the exchange as a gift and opportunity to put food on their own table and that they are being appreciated for their service directly by the client. The Supermarket attended was being appreciated by their employer and had no direct association between the customer and their own income.
Whilst there may be greater underlying issues that cause this disconnect between our employment and the opportunities these provide, another blog about this one day. I encourage you all to consider two things.
1- Stop at a roadside stall and take a moment to appreciate the love behind there efforts and the gratitude they express.
2- Consider how fortunate your live is to have employment that allows you to provide the life you choose.
Love, Gratitude and Respect.