I know a family who are very much devoted to the study - and practice - of the teachings of Rudolf Steiner. I worked for a time with a son of this family on his small farm. One day, in the family's kitchen, I was eating a meal largely composed of vegetables we'd picked from out back, just moments earlier. My friend's mother beamed at me, saying, "Can't you just feel the life force in that food?"
Now, my friends, I am (though not politically) a rather conservative sort of a person. I don't consider myself to be crunchy or hippy or any other -y for that matter. Before meeting my friend and his family (this is now going back a ways), I'd never heard of Rudolf Steiner. Not being raised amidst his teachings, certain ideas still, to this day, sound odd to me. Astral bodies? Eurythmy? And life forces? In food?
So on that day, in that kitchen, I think I nodded Yes, and smiled back at her, not wanting to disappoint her, definitely not sold on the idea she was presenting to me. But I have never forgotten that moment. In fact, I think of it often. In fact, that moment has helped drive me to where I am today, has helped me figure out why I care about what I do, and why I care about what I eat.
Now, that being said, I'm not a purist. I don't eat solely of foods raised with love here on my farm. I'd like to eat more foods that I raise and grow myself, and I'm getting there. In the meantime, I eat plenty of anonymously produced foods (and some of what I consider non-foods, and even some complete crap). But you know what? Whether made of plant or animal, they're dead foods. Like really dead. Like the kind of dead that never had a moment of joy or beauty. The kind of dead that is totally lacking in life force.
I know this, and yet, I still eat these things. But, when I eat the foods that Craig and I raise right here on our farm, I know their stories. I know where our meats came from, as I knew the animals themselves, where they were born and raised, how they were treated while they were alive. I know that Craig loves to lie down in the straw with the piglets and that they clamber over him like puppies. I know that our pigs are born and raised right here, outdoors and in fresh air, treated gently and with love. I know that I talk to my hens when I gather their eggs, and catch myself apologizing to them when I have to shoo them out of a nest box. I know that I sit quietly by my beehives when I can, just watching them fly in and out. I know that Craig drives out into the pastures just to make sure the cows are content, and that he has a huge soft spot for Old 100, our own grandmama cow.
And yes, this is food that is filled with life forces. Forces of soil and grasses and wind and rain and sun and stars. Forces even I can feel.