Savoring the Seasons: Breaking bread together

For The Recorder
Published: 7/19/2016 12:50:59 PM

Thank you to the many people who’ve talked with me about the cancellation of this year’s Free Harvest Supper.

Like you, I’m very sad, but, I fully understand why it’s not happening.

It takes a lot of organizing to create a 1,000-plus people meal with food sourced from 50 plus local farms, complete with entertainment, a really, really free market of garden produce, displays and more. Like many local events — and causes — are experiencing, it has been challenging to find people with the time and energy to volunteer to organize the Free Harvest Supper.

I think many older, longtime organizers are worn out; and, many younger (and not-so-younger) potential volunteers are working extra hard to make ends meet in these continuingly challenging economic times.

Here is some great news:

I’ve heard from several people who want to help organize a 2017 Free Harvest Supper. I’m taking names and contact info for folks who will start organizing next spring. Want to join them? Call me at 413-522-5932 or email me at:

We don’t need to wait until next summer to break bread together with neighbors and strangers, though.

The seed of an idea that grew into the Free Harvest Supper was simple — sit down with people outdoors and enjoy locally grown food together. Several people have suggested we have a community picnic or potluck on the Greenfield Town Common. Others have talked about pulling together a neighborhood picnic or potluck in their community.

Breaking bread together!

In a world that feels increasing polarized between the many versions of “them” and “us,” sitting down to share a meal with people we don’t know is a simple and profound way to find common ground.

Will it solve the world’s ills?

One of my favorite writers, Rebecca Solnit, said in a recent article (, “hope locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act. ... Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable, an alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists. Optimists think it will all be fine without our involvement; pessimists adopt the opposite position; both excuse themselves from acting. It is the belief that what we do matters, even though how and when it may matter, who and what it may impact, are not things we can know beforehand. We may not, in fact, know them afterwards either, but they matter all the same, and history is full of people whose influence was most powerful after they were gone. ...It’s important to ask not only what those moments produced in the long run, but what they were in their heyday. If people find themselves living in a world in which some hopes are realized and some joys are incandescent and some boundaries between individuals and groups are lowered, even for an hour or a day or several months, that matters. Memory of joy and liberation can become a navigational tool, an identity, a gift.”


Want to help create a meal and sit down with people you don’t know? Visit: to learn about Franklin County Community Meals Program’s free meals. Visit: Stone Soup Café at: to learn about its volunteer-run pay-what-you-can cafe.

Or organize a potluck for your community.

This week we’re eating …

Deconstructed Pesto

By Grace Edwards of Sunderland

The other night I had a craving for pesto, but was too tired to make it. I briefly considered buying ready-made pesto (ugh). Instead, I prepared my noodles (Shirataki brand gluten-free Angel Hair) and put the pesto ingredients directly on the pasta. I did briefly saute fresh garlic in olive oil and butter first. Poured that on the pasta, then added pine nuts, coarsely chopped basil, and grated cheese. Yum!

It was just as delicious as pesto and, overall, tasted lighter. The texture was delightful. I think of it as “deconstructed pesto.” It’s made me think of other “deconstructed” recipe possibilities.

Local food advocate and community organizer Mary McClintock lives in Conway and works as a freelance writer for Greenfield Community College, brand promoter for Goshen-based local food company Appalachian Naturals, and writer/editor for More Than Sound. Send column suggestions and recipes to


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