On this week’s On Being podcast, Brother David Steindl-Rast speaks about the importance of gratitude, and something he said stopped me in my tracks. He so beautifully articulated what I’ve felt for years but haven’t been able to put into words.

I remember the grace that Buddhists pray before a meal [that] starts with the words, “Innumerable beings brought us this food. We should know how it comes to us.”

And when you put that into practice and look at what’s there at your table, on your plate, there is no end to connectedness.


People had to work on sowing it and harvesting it, packaging it, transporting it. There you have already a couple of thousand people whom you will never see, never know by name, never meet, and yet without them, there wouldn’t be anything on your plate.

I want to take that a step further.

If that kind of joy is possible in a nameless, commercial system (and it can be), imagine how much greater it is when you have a direct relationship to the people and land that produce your food.

Three times a day, I’m reminded of the commitment our farmers have made to us and the community. The thought surfaces again and again — if this was all I had, it would be enough.

When we first signed up for a CSA six years ago, I had no idea how transformative it would be. I thought it might change my shopping habits, slightly. I thought I’d be a bit healthier physically. I didn’t realize until now that it instilled in me a sense of place and connection — and made me a happier, more grateful person in the process.

For more thoughts on gratitude, be sure to watch Brother David Steindl-Rast’s TED talk.

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