February 25

I started a big pot of simple chicken and vegetable soup this morning.  It’s really simple.  Boil a chicken covered in water for about an hour or so, then lower the heat to a simmer.  About 8-12 hours later you remove the chicken, shred and set aside.  I usually take a quart or two of the stock out in order to put some up in the freezer for another time.  Then I dice up some vegetables-I’m using carrots, onion, butternut squash today.  Allow that to simmer in the stock and then add the shredded chicken back in.  There you have it-delicious, nutritious chicken and vegetable soup.  This big pot is for the Empty Bowls event happening in Bowling Green tomorrow evening.

This is one of my favorite events of the year.  It benefits the work of my friend Rhondell and others at HOTEL INC.  Her work ensures that our hungriest neighbors have good, nutritious food.  She works hard to ensure that the food available in the food pantry she oversees is as fresh and seasonal as possible.  This is no hard task.  Events like Empty Bowls bring people together around good food to bring awareness to the needs of those who are hungry and also those who are working hard to serve them.  I love the fact that the those in attendance first pick out a beautiful bowl that was hand crafted by a local artist.  Love the connection between food and art.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how farmers and artists are a lot alike.  Those of us who choose farming or art as a full time occupation have in many ways chosen to swim upstream-against the current that society has created.  We pour our lives, bodies, souls into the work that we do and depend on others to make conscious, dedicated decisions to support that work.  Most importantly-I love the idea of creating opportunity for both farmers and artists because in many ways it’s a very possible way that the hungriest among us may find their own way to support themselves and provide for their own needs.  This is also no easy task.  Systems must change, our attitudes must change, policies need to be improved, but I do see a movement towards creating a sense of place that allows all of us the right for dignity and grace.  If you’ve ever made an effort to swim upstream you know exactly what I mean.  So tomorrow-I’ll gather with my friends, eat good food, pick out a beautiful hand crafted bowl, help clean tables, hug my friend Rhondell and leave with hope.