Volume 23: Breaking Bread
The simple act of making bread, from sifting to baking, can evoke a flood of memories, anticipation, and reflection. We anticipate the smell of warm bread that will waft through the home, perhaps alongside a bowl of homemade soup and freshly harvested salad makings, or mingling with other scents and sounds that signify a family holiday tradition. We recall the simple sharing of bread as examples of hospitality and welcome. In many cultures, breaking bread together is a sign of reconciliation, of sustenance and shared life in the midst of brokenness. Breaking bread from local ingredients can be an invitation into the heart of a place and a celebration of the bounty of the land.
Bread can also symbolize the brokenness of our food system. Breaking it down to its individual components, we might imagine the complicated network of people, places, and technology that brought those ingredients to us: the farmers and other laborers who nurtured plants to harvest, the machinery involved in planting, harvesting, transporting, packaging, and bringing each item to a store nearby, the almost unfathomably large number of places around the globe necessary to create those machines and vehicles, packing products, and raw ingredients. How were the people treated in each of these stages? Who are they, and what is their story? What is the world like where they come from, and is it moving toward fullness of life as a result of being drawn into this supply chain, or degradation?
We welcome your submissions addressing both sides of this theme: breaking bread as ritual, hospitality, and welcome, as gratitude for the interconnected global web of relationships that brings bread to our tables, juxtaposed with bread as a symbol of the broken places within our globalized food system. Wheat allergies, genetically modified foods, treatment of farm and factory workers, the impact of monocrops on the land and its inhabitants, the increasing distance between many people and the origins of their food—do these represent brokenness to you? What is the breaking point, at which our planet cannot sustain so many human beings, when our ability to make enough bread will be broken due to insufficient supply and inhospitable climate conditions? Have you experienced times when breaking bread is an act of healing this broken system? What steps are you taking to break bread as an act of unity, conscious of life’s fragile networks and nearly-miraculous ability to sustain?
The basic ingredients of bread are not particularly tasty on their own: flour, salt, yeast—and yet, given the right combination of motion, time, and heat, they will transform into a product appealing to the senses. What raw ingredients are waiting and churning inside you? If you knead for a little while, mull on the words and images, wait for some yeast-like catalyst to produce its alchemy inside, what will come forth?
We invite you to share your written and visual art on the theme of breaking bread as reflective environmental practice on or before April 15, 2016. Online submission is preferred.
Inquiries and submissions may be sent to:
Editor, Whole Terrain
Deadline: April 15, 2016
Prose: 2000 words
Poetry: up to 3 poems
Art: up to 10 images, sized for email