The Universe Is In a Grain
By Gabe Kennedy
As a kid, we were told not to play with our food…but why? I now spend every day indulging in and experiencing the bounty of the land. My hands are dirty, covered in soil from the Hudson Valley or caked in flour from a fresh loaf of bread. I’m not afraid to play with my food, to touch it, taste it, smell it, listen to it, connect with it. In fact, if you aren’t doing so, I think you’re missing out on the true wonder of what food has to offer.
Preparing and sharing food are the most intimate interactions that we as humans have with each other and also with our environment. It is with this in mind that I have spent my life exploring the medium of food, curious as to how we can use it impart positive change on both people and the planet.
A pea, grain of rice, or tomato, contains the entire universe. It is a product of the season’s rain, blistering sun, or glowing moon. It is the physical manifestation of our interconnected natural systems. When I see a piece of food, I take a moment to honor where it came from, the journey it took, what it means, and how I can respectfully tell its story.
That is why I think it’s important we find space for wonder on our plates. We must remember that eggs don’t come from the grocery store, they come from a chicken that only lays one a day, that a watermelon takes 80 days to grow and only minutes for me to devour, and that eating a piece of fish is taking a life. That those sun kissed strawberries were pollinated by some of earth’s most critical and underrecognized workers — honeybees. We must assume responsibility of what our actions truly mean, and what systems we choose to support, or displace, with our purchases. We have the opportunity to perpetuate and grow the wonder and awe of this planet by being curious and mindful. We have the power in our hands and through our stomachs!
I am fortunate that as the culinary creative force behind The Little Beet, and LB Table, I can create and serve mindful meals for the over 60,000 people who visit our establishments each month. I am honored that I have been empowered to serve food that celebrates the innate beauty of vegetables, that is as local as possible and which is created with love and inspiration — food for thought. I am also inspired that we have taken steps to protect the wonder of our environment by using paper straws instead of plastic, and using less animal protein in each serving. These seemingly small edits help to create a more conscious consumer lifestyle in the heart of New York City by creating an opportunity to recognize our societal addiction to plastics and to meat and select an alternative. My experience at Little Beet and LB Table has proven the power of business to make healthy, sustainable food more accessible to those who need it by lowering prices, highlighting plants and celebrating the wonder of our environment. Every day I strive to serve the wonder of this planet by ingesting its gifts with gratitude, and doing everything I can to ensure that ALL people can experience how delicious our earth can be.
Thrive Global collaborated with Adrian Grenier and the Lonely Whale Foundation to spread awareness of their new #StrawlessOcean initiative through this series on wonder and our environment.