October 2021 - THE CUT: Shifting Narratives at the Table


Food. We have all eaten it, purchased it, admired it in pictures, and some of us even cooked it. It inspires conversations and innovations. Time could be spent outside with our hands in the dirt to grow it or inside with pots and pans to make mini masterpieces and disasters. However, when you view food, it comes with stories. Grandma’s account of the homeland, be it another state, another country, or the same house you are standing in. Maybe it’s the story of how the food got to your table from halfway around the world. Or, from your school days, you could tell which one of your peers was affluent and who wasn’t by what their lunch box contained. Food is a common language that everyone shares, but not everyone is privileged to have enough of it. The stories that will be part of this project come from locals like you and are candid discussions on how food affects our families.


So much of the food in New Mexico is imported from other states when we have small family farms right here growing Native foods to feed New Mexicans. Eating local with New Mexican grown food and New Mexican restaurants help fuel the local economy while also lowering the state's carbon footprint. You end up with fresher food at a better price. It not only makes sense for working families but also helps our food-insecure community members.


Three Sisters Kitchen (TSK) hopes to shift the narratives around the table. The root causes of poverty, colonialism, racism, and capitalism are found on our tables and in our bellies. TKS strives to create a more balanced and comprehensive story when the pandemic has illustrated the inequalities of people's lives. Storytelling workshops are at the heart of this program. The stories come from many native New Mexicans on how they remember food inequality to how food would bring families together in times of celebration. Food is such an intricate part of everyday life but often doesn’t get the respect it deserves. People are busy and often overwhelmed. They don’t take time to enjoy a meal and good company.


In November, TSK hopes to help change this with stories over meals. You will be able to go to restaurants that share core values with TSK, such as supporting local farmers, to try meals specially crafted to go with storytelling events. These meals will come with workbooks with writing and talking prompts to discuss thoughts and memories on food. There will be a different recipe and a different restaurant each week. You can come to the restaurant and eat with others or order the meals and workbooks to discuss with your chosen family and friends.


Open discussions about how our food is grown, where it comes from, and how far it travels are essential. How the food we eat makes us feel is even more critical. Why are some foods considered comfort food and others are not? It is time to start the conversations. Please check out the schedule at ournutritionalvalues.org. - Winter Elise


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