What are we feeding and sustaining?

By Stephen Posner, Director of Pathways to Planetary Health

Everything is food for something else. 

This ecological quote at once eliminates the concept of waste and illuminates the cyclical nature of food systems. While reflecting on food systems in our lives, we often focus on the food we eat. But as springtime emerges here in the northern hemisphere–along with long-dormant insects like mosquitos–I’m thinking about what I feed. 

This metaphor extends to the work I pour myself into with Pathways to Planetary Health. What are we feeding and sustaining? How can a specific project, partnership, or engagement feed into justice and repair? Do our actions today carry prospects for peace and tranquility in the longer-range future?

Becoming conscious of ourselves as relational parts of networks that nourish provides a sense of agency in co-creating the world we want to be in.

“To sense the enormous privilege that is ours to be alive at this time, where our lives can matter. Where we make choices. … Feel the companionship of the ancestors and future beings who are there to support us because this moment is a crucial link in a very long story.”

-Joanna Macy

At the Garrison Institute, we’re developing a partnership with a UNDP program on conscious food systems as a pathway to planetary health. The Conscious Food Systems Alliance aims “to support people from across food and agriculture systems to cultivate the inner capacities that activate systemic change and regeneration.”

We’re continuing to engage with bioregional leaders throughout the Hudson Valley–the social and ecological place where Garrison Institute resides–to reconnect people with the land and coordinate systemic efforts in bioregional health and regeneration. 

In addition, our team is stewarding two research-to-action projects:

  • To explore and grow relationships across a field of Earth-based contemplative practices; and
  • To partner with Indigenous communities to describe practices that promote balance and well-being for young people.

We’ll be sharing more about these efforts on Earth-based practices and modern expressions of ancient wisdom.

Recent Pathways Forums include a compelling conversation with Indy Johar and Jonathan F.P. Rose on the common good and islands of coherence, and a podcast session on boundary spanning, an essential field of practice that enhances society’s capacity to respond to complex challenges such as climate change. 

Looking forward, please join us for:

  • Upcoming Pathways Forums: Dekila Chungyalpa on June 7 at 1pm ET, and Kate Raworth and others from the Doughnut Economics Action Lab team on June 24 at 11:30am ET (details forthcoming).
  • A conversation on Becoming Earth That Carries You on April 22 at 11am ET as part of the Tricycle Buddhism & Ecology Summit. This live event on Earth Day will be broadcast from Plum Village, a community founded by Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh that has become Europe’s largest Buddhist monastery.  

And as always, I’d like to invite you to please consider contributing to Pathways to Planetary Health to support our efforts to create a compassionate and resilient world.

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