When I say “Feed What Matters” it isn’t a fancy way of saying buy my food.
In college I had a microeconomics teacher and on the first day of class he said something I’ll never forget. He said, “I don’t care if you skip class because everyone has different values and priorities and we weigh and measure and make decisions based on our priorities. If you skip my class to go to Starbucks or to go take a nap obviously that was more important to you than learning about supply and demand on that particular day.” When I’m tempted to become cynical about the choices people make I have to remind myself that they value things differently than me. It might drive me crazy, I might disagree, but I’ll be hard pressed to convince them that their priorities are wrong. That takes a major paradigm shift, and typically some large, life altering experience or revelation.
“Feed What Matters” is a statement of understanding. That people put their time, energy, and money toward their priorities. When I look back at my bank account or my calendar I don’t always like what I see. I may think that entertainment isn’t that important to me, but maybe I’m forking over $20 a month to watch Netflix with every moment of my free time. I recall a farmer I admire, Joel Salatin, telling a story about his dad. For a week he tracked what he did every day in 5 minute increments and at the end added it all up. He realized he spent nearly eight hours a week just reading the newspaper. Now, I’ve never been brave enough to track my week and see what’s sucking my time, but I think we can all admit that we spend plenty of time on things we don’t actually want to have priority over our family, work, or hobbies.
I’ve heard my mother often quote “The grass isn’t greener on the other side, its greener where you water it.” That’s what “Feed What Matters” means. Invest in what’s important to you. Do you want to have a stronger marriage? Great! Put more energy into talking to your spouse and building them up. Want to make more friends? Instead of saying “We should get together” get out your calendar on your phone and say “We should get together next Tuesday at noon” and if something comes up set another date. Want to invest in the health of your family? Start cooking at home, join a CSA, or visit the farmers market.
What I’m trying to say is evaluate your priorities. You might not like what you find BUT decide what you want to invest in. Take control of your influence. Don’t let the weeds that crop up distract you from planting trees. It is so easy to go through life dazed, distracted, and feeling out of control. I’m definitely not thumping this bible because I’m perfect. The good news is YOU get to decide where to invest. YOU get to decide what’s important to you. You may not be able to do everything perfect. (Drink all the water! Do all the exercise! Plant trees every weekend and donate to every amazing organization…) But if we all chose just a couple things to feed what amazing, wonderful world could we create?
In the end it’s people that matter. It’s people that make the difference, and tip the scale. No matter what your hot button issue is right now it is people that will change it. It is easy to invest in activities and faceless companies creating products for the greater good. It can be hard and painful to invest in people. We don’t always get it right. We all mess up, we take advantage of people, say hurtful things, or are ungrateful to the folks that pour into us. But I promise THEY are the most worthwhile investment. Band together, and through tears of pain and joy teach each other how to live. I pray that we fall in love again. That we lift the earthworms from pavement into the grass, that we take pause to watch a honeybee on the clover, that we all remember to look up, to clouds or stars, and remember what a wide, wonderful world we’ve been placed in. And, most of all, that we remember to look into the eyes of another human being and to remind them that they matter.
Eat Well & Be Inspired,