I am because we are.

This week, some of our staff had the privilege of hearing Duke Divinity School professor Norman Wirzba speak at Vanderbilt University Medical Center of the relationship between sustainable agriculture and human health. Wirzba reminded us of what we already know—that life only happens in relationship, that life is what happensbetween things, and that life does not exist within a single thing. He asked us questions, like “How can we nourish the contexts in which we live, so all life can flourish?” I left his talk reminded that if I want to work for a healthy person, I must work for a healthy world. 

At The Nashville Food Project, food is the tool we use to create change in Nashville. There are lots of people working in this food “space,” many with different goals. Our goals are to work for a healthy community—to awaken ourselves and others to the suffering within us and around us—by growing, cooking, and sharing food in ways that acknowledge what’s broken and celebrate what’s held in common. What happens here is community food, where choice is extended, high-quality meals are shared. Our work is cooperative, rooted in relationships. The nourishing food we grow, cook, and share supports the critical work being carried out by our partners who work daily to ease the enormous burdens of poverty and a broken world.

Community food is not convenient or tidy, but it is joyous. Our hope is that the meals we share and the gardens we grow celebrate abundance. We ask people to get involved with a spirit of deep hospitality—the kind of kindness that welcomes the “other" and invites them to move more fully into their own human potential. 

Some of you may be familiar with the South African word ubuntu, which has been translated to mean “I am because we are.” And this is what I am daily learning. Thank you for helping me.

Grace and peace,