Open Arms of Minnesota

On Gratitude

By Ben Penner, Open Farms Director

This season of thanks offers an opportunity to reflect, share and refocus on what is most important. Giving thanks makes us more present to our daily routines and to those around us. The abundance of the earth provides ample food, water, and beauty to share and so it is in this spirit that we grow and share food for those in our community with illness. The land will provide abundantly for many years to come if we take care of it, a virtuous cycle providing not only for the present but providing health and nourishment for future generations, the poor, the sick, the wealthy, in a word: everyone. We have the capacity to take care of each other.

Biology and culture, technology and practice determine routines of production, consumption, and celebration of food. While we were harvesting our crops at the farm, I noticed how much joy we all took in learning and practicing a routine – tilling, planting, tending and harvesting until finally there was a more abundant harvest we had anticipated. It was as if the surprise of it all kept us going. The soil produced food and the natural thought was to give thanks.

When I was in Ethiopia this past March our visit coincided with a period of fasting. Each person I met approached their fast differently; some eating meat, and some not, but each one used the time to change up their status quo for a period of time so they could reflect, remember and eventually give thanks. We all pause and remember the abundance we have and feel gratitude for all of the people who make the work of Open Arms possible in our community and around the world.

It is in this spirit that Open Arms seeks to serve our community, and provide nourishing food joyously for others.

Thank you.

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