Tanya Fenwick is a TEAR advocate and supporter who works in community development and lives on the beaches of Sydney. Here, Tanya shares with us her food journey and how participation in our food system has helped her to experience a greater connection with God and others.
Where does your passion for food come from?
My mother is Malaysian, so I have grown up experiencing different food and culture and have always loved trying new foods. More recently, I started to experience some health issues and going back to the basics of real wholefoods that weren't packaged up into a product was a key part of getting better.
Around the same time, I began to understand more and more how my faith was linked to justice, all whilst starting a Development Studies degree where I my knowledge around justice, development and climate change expanded. I realised that there is a huge systemic problem in our global food system that I couldn’t remain ignorant to and I wanted to keep learning more about it.
I guess I’ve been on a ‘food journey’ over the last few years. I really enjoy cooking and making things from scratch, and I find joy in knowing where my food has come from.
Instead of being just a ‘consumer’ in our food system, I have started to participate in it. I have begun to eat with more understanding, gratitude and joy, and found joy in sharing this with others.
I find being more connected to our food and sharing it with one another is part of being more fully human – the way God created us to be.
I like the notion of eating as a political act – eating in a way that makes me think about where my food comes from so that I am more mindful of my own consumption and the way I interact with the world.
In an essay by Wendell Berry titled ‘The Pleasure of Eating’, he says "Eating with the fullest pleasure — pleasure, that is, that does not depend on ignorance — is perhaps the profoundest enactment of our connection with the world. In this pleasure we experience and celebrate our dependence and our gratitude, for we are living from mystery, from creatures we did not make and powers we cannot comprehend."
I see all these things as inextricably linked and believe that participating in the food and home economy helps us to experience connection with God and others.
We connect with God because we are brought back to more of a full humanity by experiencing connection with the land - gaining deeper gratitude, understanding, joy and appreciation of where food comes from and how it is grown.
By being more mindful of what we buy and eat, and by choosing to grow or source food more sustainable, we are loving our neighbours by refusing to participate in a food system that destroys our ecosystems and furthers inequality.
Have a read of The Future of Food report. It's a great new resource which delves into the interlinked issues of hunger, poverty + climate change and suggests how we, as followers of Jesus, can respond.