WHY BACK YET FORWARD?
From those countless areas of our life that would benefit from the “back yet forward” approach – I find food is the most vital. So that’s what I am going to start with.
Why talk about food? Simply because food & water are one of our basic human needs. Currently, not many of us here in the Western World realize the power that we have given away from our hands, by not being involved and interested in where our food comes from.
Along with shelter and clothing, food and water make up the 3 essentials, because – they sustain life. While shelter and clothing are disputable (as in a warm climate we can survive with almost nothing), we simply – can not survive without food nor water.
There is currently over 7 billion of us. Living life on this finite planet. ALL of us need water and food & all of us acquire it from somewhere. Some of us live still a relatively traditional and low-impact life-style, growing most of the foods and sharing with neighbors and their communities.
The more affluent a society has become, the more convenient it has become not to be involved anymore. But – should we be involved, or at least, interested in where our food comes from? Even if our neighborhood supermarket carries colorful food-products from all around the world or when we can “order anything” online? Yes. We should. To one extent or another. But there is no doubt we should.
Here’s a little story. Greatly simplified and romanticized as it was not all merry during this era, but it still carries a message. The story goes:
My grandmother, a strong & beautiful lady, grew up in the country-side of one of the smallest countries in Europe. In 1927, between the two World Wars, there was this peaceful era of freedom.
The family had a few goats, the neighbors had cows, everybody had a vegetable garden with fruit trees and various bushes of berries. Her father, my grandfather, had built their house and next to it – a mill. This is where he was working, day after day, and that’s where the neighboring people brought their crops to. Children in the house had their own tasks – helping out the parents in the garden after school, picking berries during the harvest. On weekends milking the goats and even herding the neighbors cows on the pasture. Everybody, from the little children to the grandparents – was involved in bringing the food to the table in one extent to another. They made butter & cream,baked bread and made sure they preserved plenty of fruits, berries & vegetables for the cold winter-months. Killing a bird or an animal in order to be able to put food on the table, was not something that had to be hid behind closed curtains.
Most of the food was grown and made by the family itself, some of it was swapped with friends & neighbors, and if there was plenty – it was brought to the nearby village for sale.
It was only for the “more exotic things” such as salt and sugar for example – that there was a little local store.
It was a different era and yes – we have come a long way. Industrialization and globalization along with agri-business, has given people an opportunity to dedicate their life to something else than farming. We are now free to learn, to choose a career that we are passionate about, to follow our hearts. Not everyone has to be a farmer anymore. Not everyone feels that their “life’s purpose” (if one would believe in such thing) is raising animals or working out in the field. My grandmother for instance, could follow her heart and her passion for justice, graduating with a law degree & becoming a judge. The last century with its advancements is a beautiful thing due to all the freedom it gives us. However – when we do think about it, we might have also lost something along the way. This is the question that Back Yet Forward tries to explore. What is it that we’ve lost? In which ways could we better our lives, learning from our past but yet using all the modernizations that we have?
I find it is vital that we restore this link between the consumer and the producer. Every time we eat – we support something and someone – but most of us have probably never thought about who exactly we are supporting. Our dollars go a long way – either supporting a family or small company to produce our food with integrity & transparency, or supporting a CEO of a multinational agribusiness company.
As what comes to our health – we have been following all sorts of “guidelines” and “pyramids”, we have been looking elsewhere for answers. Or maybe we have simply been blindly following what has been said to us, without asking any questions.
Not asking questions is a dangerous thing. You might end up where you did not want to be.
So where exactly are we? Where have we arrived to? And what have we become?
We live in a “well-fed” society. Physically – we are fed with foods of all sorts. Mentally – we are “fed” with information of all sorts. We seem to have the means, we seem to have the resources. But yet?…
Yet it seems people are sick & undernourished, mentally exhausted. Most of Americans are on one or several prescription drugs. Our life does not seem nothing more than miserable & empty. What is our purpose, where are we going? Why are we here?
We have come a long way, we are no longer in the phase of “survival” – yet I find we could be doing So Much Better. It is sad that at an era of advancements and technology, all for the sake of “giving us more time”, has barely left us with any time. Many of us find ourselves working away in order to be able to pay for the things we…don’t really need.
Back Yet Forward sources its inspiration from the past, yet looks towards the future.
Yes, in a way I romanticize the old way, but only because – some things were not meant to disappear.
Sometimes “progress” and “growth” are “decline” and “decay” in disguise.
From a pure health-perspective – mainstream America is afraid of, if not almost paranoid, about food.
We concentrate on “what is not there” instead of “what is there”. We do this because we have been told that food is something that is “bad for you”. Having traveled through some parts of the World where people are not even sure when is their next meal – our Western mindset it just disturbing.
When you think about it – what happened to the joy, to the gratitude that food use to provide us?
Instead of joy – mainstream America lives in food fear.
What happened to our palates?
Since when does an apple not taste sweet anymore and we need to coat it with sugar?
What happened to our sense of feeling satisfied?
Without packages that inform us about the “portion-size” America would never know when to stop.
This has happened because on an everyday basis, we are eating foods we eat are not nurturing us. We are overfed and overweight but still hungry. We crave for what our bodies used to know – Real Wholesome Foods, nothing added, nothing taken away.
The thing is – I think we’ve got it wrong.
Good news it – if we know we got it wrong, it is never too late to fix it.
It is time to wake up, to look inwards & to take back the responsibility for our own health & happiness. It all starts with questions. I do not have the answers, yet I try to explore, grow & learn.
What we need, is to change the way we see food, we think about food, the way we prepare food. The culture around food. And that change starts at our homes, in our kitchens. But it is supported by the other areas of “food environment”, that is media, tv-channels, advertisements, government policies and so on.
There is an immense need to simplify – in many areas of our lives, but first & foremost – in our foods.
To look into ourselves and recover the information that is already there. We do not need to discover new ways but to recover the old ways. Relearn. Once we have managed to change our approach to food, we can do it in many other aspects of our lives.
I believe that we have the power and knowledge inside of each and every one of us, that knows the answers. We just have to access them. Along the way we shall not forget – we all have different answers.
With Back Yet Forward I would love to invite you to be part of this learning and recovery process.