Food is a way that we share love and nourishment with one another; to create a meal for another person is to offer an emotional gift and also to create cells in his or her body — we are, after all, what we eat.
But, especially in Alaskan communities where fast food and over-processed foodstuffs are becoming more common and, in
some cases, replacing traditional subsistence foods, at the expense of our health and our environment we, as a people, are
becoming less connected with our food — from what, where and who it comes.
Last week, participants of Alaska Youth for environmental Action convened in Bethel for a week-long training themed “getting Creative About real Food,” where teens from various villages and communities in the Yukon-Kuskokwim delta region learned about the U.S. food system through group discussions, activities, and field trips, and worked with instructors to create art
pieces, poems, and memoirs that addressed their own relationships with food and eating.
I was privileged to be selected as the creative writing/memoir instructor for this year’s training; working with AYeA’s orga-
nizers and participants was rewarding and inspiring, and it reminded me, if nothing else, that perhaps at the heart of our
unhealthy America is this: We’ve abandoned our cultural foods and forgotten the importance in our own stories.
Read more in this week's issue of the Tundra Drums here.
Photos © 2010 Ashley Skabar