I have come to the conclusion that food is the single greatest unifier on the planet; the language of food is universal and creates community. Almost every culture and religion uses food in celebrations, and seasons, harvests, and holidays all have unique foods and help bring us together. What we eat is an accumulation and function of all our experiences, beginning with our first bottle or breast. Learning to eat is learning to become human. Food is part of our social interaction on multiple levels. As a matter of fact, food is such a significant part of our who are that it is the last thing people change when adapting to or attempting to blend in with a different culture.
The significance and impact of food reaches far deeper than we can imagine. We build associations with food much like we do with music. Our most important memories are frequently rooted in celebrations and events, and where there are events and celebrations there is food. Even a weekly family dinner has significant impact on children. Researchers from Harvard, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the European Congress on Obesity, performed global studies and found that children that have a designated family dinner time are more likely not to be obese, to show better academic performance, to have better school attendance, and are less likely to abuse alcohol or drugs.
Likewise, in the world of business, food also plays a key role. More business is conducted at dining tables in restaurants, executive board rooms, clubs, and homes than anywhere else. Food is so important in many cultures that knowing appropriate food etiquette is seen as essential in building strong client relationships, increasing sales, and helping 'close the deal'. Never underestimate the value of food and food etiquette when dealing with top management.
The Marketplace motto this year, "Buy, Shop, and Live Local", has been used to raise awareness about an array of businesses in our local community. For example, we are highlighting various aspects of farming in our area, and the meaningful contributions they make to the value and significance of providing healthy food for our bodies. Our local farmers take their responsibility to consumers seriously, and when we can purchase our food at a farmers market we are able to build a relationship with the farmer instead of buying from large corporate growers who are not as likely to care about how the foods they sell impact our well-being. Chances are the food at the market was picked that day and is traveling straight from the farm to you. This quick farm-to-table can preserve the product's nutrients for a healthier you.
This Tuesday will be our first locally sourced "Farm-to-Table Dinner". I truly hope you will plan to attend. Tickets must be obtained in advance, and can be purchased at the Pulaski YMCA or at Pulaski on Main. You will be able to participate in this experience of fresh food right from the farm with an exquisite meal (paired with wines, if desired) created by local chefs, Loren Hunter and PJ Slaughter.
The last thing I'm going to write about while advocating the importance of food came from an article "Top Ten Reasons to Buy Local" by Vern Grubinger. He cites a study by the American Farmland Trust, that says farmers contribute more in taxes than they require in services, whereas most development companies contribute less in taxes than they require in services. Cows don't go to schools, and tomatoes don't call 911. So, support our local farmers!
Please join us this Tuesday at The Marketplace for our first Farm to Table meal.
Work hard, be productive, and above all else stay positive.
Peggy White, Executive Director