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Community Gatherings

The Road Less Traveled

"Why fit in when you were born to stand out?"

- Dr Seuss, American Author + Illustrator (died 1991)

Let’s talk more about group dynamics, perhaps the most powerful force on the planet (aside from the sensuous smells of a summer BBQ party on a warm Sunday afternoon!). For better or worse, we need to feel accepted and understood by at least one other person. Our instincts have developed to include others who support our beliefs, words, and lifestyles. When we laugh with friends, connect over shared interests, and join a group of like-minded individuals, our lives are greatly enhanced. As a slight introvert, spending time alone for me is essential. I’m also gratefully aware that having friends who understand, accept, and support me (and vice versa) adds spice to life.

Group dynamics have created genocide and gentlemen, wars and warriors. Our collective paradigms about food, farming, politics, society, medicine, business, fitness, and science show a history of battles fought, when evil was crushed and bravery prevailed. Although it may seem naïve to think that the truth comes out in the end, this statement has veracity most of the time. It might take us five more pandemics with over half of the population left for dead to wake up and start treating our bodies, each other, all living creatures, and the planet with more grace. This is the dark prognosis screaming at us, as we casually sip our expensive coffees and eat our chocolate croissants. 

 

I have nothing personal against anyone or any group. I’m just a research geek who got food educated and decided not to die, while becoming another middle-aged statistic.

What I've discovered upon the shoulders of wiser people and via deep dive research is dreary. That said, I also see a profound potential in human resilience and wise instinct, and I’m sticking to my story that in the end, the truth will prevail. I've been called a realist who doesn't see the glass as half empty or half full; I see a glass begging for my brave attention and loving care. The road less travelled is not for the faint of heart or for those who would rather take a pill and call it a day. Waking up to unhealthy habits is hard until, of course, it becomes easier. This is true for all life transitions.  

Perhaps it’s a bit easier for my personality-type, which I've been told came out of the womb alert and rebellious? I think yes. I was also encouraged to question everything, including what my parents, teachers, and culture taught me. Famed actor Meryl Streep once accepted an award among many, and in a rather public forum, she said “thank you to all the whistleblowers.” Brava Meryl and others who risk their reputations and status by telling the truth to power. Forces are sometimes beyond our control, yet sometimes they’re not. If we reject taking the plant-powered road less traveled, we’re going to have way more battles to fight, the likes that none of humanity has ever seen. This is not another dystopian Hollywood script or dress-rehearsal for real life. This is our world. Today. 

Doom and gloom aren't usually in my repertoire regarding food, beverage, and food-systems education for all... being a boat rocker and choosing truth over deception are. 

 

Almost every WPF summit I’ve seen with dozens of experts - who have spent lifetimes talking about the benefits of whole plants, eco-system protections, and animal welfare - has included a vital question at the end of each segment: what can we do to create a better future for ourselves and generations to come? The answers vary with one common thread: it’s time to take our ostrich heads out of the sand and eat, think, learn, teach, shop, farm, ranch, and live differently than ever before. It's a tall order to ask of us comfort-zone addicted humans. United we rise and united we fall, right?

Group dynamics have created the mess we’re in, and I believe we earthlings as a community can and will wake up from a deep sleep. The choice is ours today and every day moving forward. Reality clocks are ticking, while banal arguments avoid the white elephants in the pantry that are killing us. Global activism and coalitions are powerful ways to help us wake up and change. On a local level, let's get out our chef knives and truth-telling whistles, and in our own unique Cookhouse Hero ways, save the world. Probably the most powerful solution is planted on our plates.

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