Sharing is very important to us at Cafe Gratitude. This blog is our means of connecting with you, our community through sharing what's happening with us and creating a conversation around the many facets of this community.
Consider for a minute that you are merely an organism on this planet. You are the result of every effect following another effect so far back that we cannot make out the fuzzy long distance image of what an original cause might have been. This moment you are experiencing right now is exactly what needs to happen and is what creates the moment you are experiencing now just seconds later. Imagine that there are countless timelines all moving forward and intersecting each other, with every person, every animal, every molecule experiencing a varied experience of the very same shared moment in history.
Life is so beautiful because of it’s diversity/difference and rich lush landscapes with one complex harmony of structures meeting another. The intricate network of nutrients in transit in the structure of a leaf sits against the cold lifeless concrete that’s been from the soil, to the factory, to the truck, laid down by a worker and has now seen thousands of these leaves live and die against it. When I slow down and think about the complexity of every object, every being, every aspect of my daily experience, I find that not only is the world inherently forever in motion and constantly changing but that each and every state of every thing is perfect.
“A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues.” – Cicero
Each year, Americans take one day to give thanks for all that we have in our lives.At Café Gratitude, we think that giving thanks is so important that we ask our employees, our customers, our vendors, and people driving behind us on the road to do it every single day.If you haven’t seen our bumper sticker before, it poses the question, “What are you grateful for?”
Anne Kubitsky has a vision.In a country with a tanking economy, a discouraging political situation, and escalating national protests, she has become a leader in the awakening of gratitude.The ‘Look For The Good Project’ is a community art project that encourages people (like you!) to share little bits of what they are grateful for, via postcard, in an online art gallery.
“Why not offer people a chance to pause and reflect on something that
"There is only one consciousness, equally distributed everywhere." - Ramana Maharshi
This year has been a year like no other in history. On Jan 25th, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was ousted from power following 18 days of unrelenting public protest. In August, Moammar Gadhafi's 42-year rule came to an end as Libyan rebels overtook Tripoli, after 6 months of civil war. Earthquakes and tornadoes have escalated to unforeseen severity, and the U.S. has seen the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement in every major city, and met with the opposition of police forces in New York, Cleveland, Oakland, Denver, Atlanta, Nashville, and elsewhere.
The Occupy San Francisco encampment was receiving so many food donations last week, they had to turn generous people away. Across the nation companies, organizations and individuals have shown their support for the Occupy movement by contributing supplies to the camps of people who now occupy public zones in reportedly more than 1,000 U.S. cities. These citizens are not merely erecting tents and staying the night, however: there is incredible organization going into the demonstrations. Many encampments have their own first aid tents, communications areas, and, of course, food tables. All the effort going into creating these temporary mini-cities reveals how popular the movement has become in the month it’s been active.
How did Occupy Wall Street begin?
The Canadian anti-consumerist magazine Adbusters first proposed the idea of occupying the New York financial district in late summer of this year, circulating a poster showing a dancer atop the Wall Street bull and posing the question, What is Our One Demand? Since the protests began September 17, many demands have emerged, including ending corporate personhood, raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, shrinking the income gap between rich and poor, and reforming campaign finance laws. With its strident and raucous anti-capitalism stance, we could have expected Adbusters to launch a fringe movement that would fail to capture the hearts of a majority of citizens; however, widespread anger at the state of the economy and exploitation by corporate power have caused the movement to move towards the mainstream. Time magazine, for example, recently reported that 54% of Americans approve of Occupy.
Where does Cafe Gratitude fit into all of this excitement? Well, if you haven’t heard, our LA location just trucked a big batch of Grateful Bowls over to Occupy Los Angeles to feed the people camping outside City Hall (see the video below!). Ryland Engelhart, general manager at Gratitude LA, explained that he sees the Occupy movement as a call for unification from people across the country. Americans are feeling separated from each other and from our institutions, he says, and this may be a chance to bring us all together to improve our society. Luckily, the tent village in the City of Angels was still in need of food, so Ryland was not turned away and protesters got to enjoy delicious organic vegan meals!
We can connect food to the Occupy movement in more ways than simply feeding the demonstrators, however. A great article in Mother Jones has just been published, illustrating how the financial industry is not the only economic behemoth that has been consolidating power and causing angst for the majority of Americans. The food industry, the article claims, is even more consolidated and monopolistic than the financial sector. For example, just four companies produced 75 percent of cereal and snacks, 60 percent of cookies, and half of all ice cream in the U.S. in 2002. And since then, not much has changed, although the food movement is gaining steam, and will ramp up its power this October 24, the first-ever National Food Day.
Here’s hoping that the people on the streets keeping eating well, and that we can all start understanding that we’re going to need a movement as powerful as Occupy Wall Street to reform our current food system!
The Slow Money gathering aims to fix the economy from the ground up, one small food enterprise at a time.At a time when the big business in town is a struggling stock market, disgraced investment bankers, and a market overrun with poisonous factory-farm produce – the Slow Money Gathering is bringing to bear a new kind of investing.They call it natural capital, farmer capital, social capital, local capital, nurture capital & cheese capital (why not?).
In the last two years, the gathering has hosted more than 1000 people form 24 states, and more than $4.25 million dollars have been invested in 16 of the presenting small food enterprises.The event has also given rise to local chapters, who have begun investing around the country.
My name is Andrew, I’m a brand new employee at Cafe Gratitude’s central office, and I want to share some inspiration with you. What inspires me is compassionate food--food that’s kind to the soil it’s planted in, the people who prepare it, and the hungry bodies that make it part of them. This inspiration has lead me to work with Cafe Gratitude, and also with another organization re-imagining good food, and one I’ll talk about today: the Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive, or CoFED, which empowers college students to launch food cooperatives.
What both these organizations have in common is that they empower people to transform their lives, with compassionate food as a catalyst. We like to call the Cafe a school of transformation disguised as a restaurant, because our core mission isn’t to sell you food - our aim is to give you tools to shape your life how you want it to be. Part of actively taking control of your life involves loving yourself, and a key part of loving yourself is feeding yourself really awesome food. So when you decide that you’re worthy of nourishing your body, mind and soul with meals that are kind to the Earth and her animal and human inhabitants - meals that make you feel and function great - you’re taking the first step on the journey of self-transformation.
Kaci Christian is a woman with a mission. Her life has seen her through various careers: as a lecturer, investigative reporter, TV news anchor, sign language interpreter, motivational speaker, and more. At heart, she is a storyteller - a bridge between the worlds of those who know and do not know, see and do not see, hear and do not hear.
The connecting thread for her has always been a genuine passion for people, animals, the our planet, and a desire to make a positive difference in the world. That mission is clear in her latest endeavor: The WE conference.
Most people can attest that I am a pretty sensitive and aware person. I tend to be that guy who comes up to you a week after, trying to apologize for something you totally forgot about. Blenders sound really loud to me, and I can always tell if a couple is fighting in the restaurant, even if they’re not my section and look like they’re okay. I used to proudly declare myself as “constantly vigilant.” I have so much gratitude for my vigilance. I am so grateful for my alertness and sensitivity which sends of tons of alarm bells if things don’t sit right. Vigilance has been so strong for me, so protective of my tenderness, and so unwavering. I think of Vigilance as a determined, stalwart night watchman, circling and circling each moment to make sure everyone stays safe. He can’t take a break, he says, because his job is to protect and defend. Besides, no one else is going to do it! Vigilance says if I don’t watch everything, everything is going to fall apart. People could crush me. And, if I don’t keep on my toes, there’s no saying how much destruction I could cause. Thank goodness for Vigilance!
Well, because I am lucky enough to be a growing, organic human bean, I am starting to get that Vigilance is maybe - maybe- just a little jumpy. Vigilance might be one of those guys who drinks three cups of coffee, a Red Bull, and is now chewing on tic-tacs in a really creepy, teeth-grinding sort of way. He paces the halls, taps a club against his palm and mumbles minor threats. I’m sort of noticing this and starting to wonder - is this the best guy for the job?