"The process of providing for people's needs within ecological limits requires a cultural revolution."
– David Holmgren, Permaculture Principles, and Pathways Beyond Sustainability
In most cultures, "devour and scatter" simply doesn't exist. The best memories are made around the table, fire, or any other way of congregating for a meal. As an Italian, the importance of food and nourishment was understood from a young age. The weekly ritual of "Sunday Sauce" was our birthright in which every family member contributed and shared. Inherited from a lineage of farmers, "Sunday Sauce" was the tradition of sourcing ingredients from our farm or local market. It was the transfer of "how-to's" like hand-making pasta and rolling the best meatballs on the East Coast! It was the kitchen backsplash, covered in red splatters as homemade tomato sauce bubbled for hours over the stove. Somewhere between laughter and loudness, we told stories, we drank my grandfather's wine– we danced! And every Sunday, those family members who were still with us gathered.
Since the beginning of time, human behavior has always revolved around food. Meals have shaped the cultural heritage of Indigenous America to the furthest tip of East Asia. Ceremonies have been historically assigned, whether it be how women foraged for berries, men hunted wild game, or how after-dinner celebrations led to dancing barefoot around a pit.
But today, a bleak, gray shroud conceals once rainbow-colored customs. Conventional agriculture dismantled the intricate human connection existing around food traditions. "Sunday Sauce" has become a distant memory as capitalism and industrialization crept away with what we value most. Inequality and food insecurity has paralyzed culinary heritage as families struggle to find food as simple as rice or grains. Ethical principles in agroecology and regenerative agriculture force these tough conversations to the surface. To reinstate what was stolen from our livelihoods, we need a complete overhaul of the food system as we know it. Only then can humankind restore the celebration of having bread to break bread.