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Home > Feature Articles > Restaurant and Institutional Best Practice Strategies for Food Management

The New Family Table...and our Sacred Trust

Food is about as sacred as you can get...if survival means anything to you...and me...and our shared survival.

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Restaurants are the new family table. The restaurant industry accounts for 47.5 percent of every food dollar, up from 25 percent in 1955. On a given day, more than 40 percent of adults eat out, many with children. Diet worsens when people eat out, increasing consumption of items like fried foods. One quarter of all vegetables Americans eat are French fries.*


Americans consider themselves "spiritual"...if not religious. So let me couch this discussion in spiritual terms.

Most world spiritual traditions consider something like the "golden rule" to be worth living by. "Treat others as you would want them to treat you." Let's apply that to our food supply. Our everyday work. Our role as adults to the children in our own families and our friends' families.

When we think about the choices we make every day at work, whether we are engineers or secretaries or political appointees...we seldom think about the spiritual aspect to our job.

But concern for our bodies, our families, our friends, even our neighbors is part of our deepest spiritual and human bond. But I think we lose our vision of HOW to implement our concern for our fellow human beings (and other species, as well). Life moves fast. And it's complicated. That's why we eat out so often!

If you consider that quote that opens this article... "Restaurants are the new family table." -- it turns restauranteurs and waiters and cooks and chefs...into heads of the family. The adults who make pre-choices for us. They make the decisions of which foods to make available to nourish our family members. That's a sacred charge.

We each help our species survive. Or we kill ourselves slowly.

Recent debates about transfats and meat and even e coli outbreaks bring to mind the high and holy responsibility that comes with our everyday work. Not just how we grow the food, or cook it -- but how we choose to grow nutritious, low-water consuming foods or sweet additives such as corn and sugar cane. Or foods for fuel. How far we tranport foods -- whether we buy from local farmers or from the cheapest source halfway around the world. Those are sacred choices. And they aren't easy choices.

Even people who rent out their good name -- are discharging their spirit-filled duty. Disney, long known for licensing its characters to sell high-calorie foods, announced in 2006 that its theme parks would be trans-fat free by the end of 2007, with its licensed products following suit by 2008.

Licensing is big business. Big money. Big responsibility to discharge the trust our friends and neighbors and customers have placed in us. That's spiritual. That's a sacred trust.

Mutual respect is at the heart of sustainable society, green business, sustainability reporting, sustainable business...all those fancy terms. They all come down to real, caring, respect for one another and for the earth that sustains us.

That's our sacred duty.


Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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