Yasodhara Ashram’s Food Policy
Yasodhara’s Food System – Building Resilience From The Ground Up
Food plays a vital role in the operation and health of the Ashram community by nourishing, sustaining, and connecting people. What and how we eat, where it comes from, and how it is prepared and presented must reflect the Ashram’s emphasis on awareness, quality, ecological stewardship, and the ideals of ‘Ahimsa’ in the context of an ever evolving spiritual community. The processes associated with food are an integral and vital part of the greater sustaining energies that flow through the Ashram as realized in part through the coordinated efforts of the garden, kitchen, and preserving kitchen.
Yasodhara’s food policy rests on 7 pillars.
- Buy Local, Buy Seasonal, and Buy Organic – The Ashram recognizes that current general practice in the west for growing, processing, and transporting food is at the root of many environmental, moral, and health issues. We will do our part in shifting the balance to a more natural and gentle approach by promoting all practices that foster ecological stewardship, fairness, logic, and economy and our relationship to other lives we share this planet with.
- Share Knowledge and Build Connections – The Ashram is not an island unto itself and food is not just a measured and material substance. It is a way to connect with the larger world community, both coming and going. The Ashram will consider its food policy as one which fulfills our interests and mandates, and requires us to consider how the transactions, relationships, and interplay with others might render informal and formal opportunities with others.
- Prepare for the Future – The Ashram is well aware of the potential impacts of climate change, resource depletion, and economic instability on our food supply. It sees holding a positive outlook as a way to work at several levels to prepare for, and eventually meet, the implied challenges, as it holds to its core mandate of offering a physical and spiritual harbor in these times of change. The Ashram will pursue this goal via common sense, practical methods based on the signs of the times and sincere spiritual reflection.
- Recycle, Repurpose, Reuse, Evolve – Less is more. In a time when packaged, shipped, pre-made foods and products abound, the Ashram is reminded often of the importance of stewardship, mindfulness, and gratitude for all we have. Though we now seem to have a relative abundance, we often reflect on larger balance scales we may be tipping. To this end we are mindful that everything we do from smallest to greatest has an impact, and we must start the journey where we find ourselves.
- Eat Low on the Food Chain – Ahimsa is one of the core beliefs at the Ashram. Eating low on the food chain, insuring any foods using or from animals has been done with respect and honor, and actively promoting ethical sourcing of any and all food items is an integral part of this food policy. It includes respect for life, and respect for the value and dignity of labor by human beings.
- Respect the Soil Our Food Comes from – Food is only as healthful and nutritious as the ground it is grown in. It is not just about being ‘organically grown’. The soil is an integral, functional, vital part of our biosphere. It does not belong to us, we are stewards of it.
- Honor Food as a Key Element in Our Own Spiritual Cultivation – Food is precious and we present food with love and care. The eating of food is a communion and at the Ashram it is an offering of oblation and worship.