AnissaWithTreeOur campus community is extremely pleased to welcome our new Marketing and Communications Director, Anissa New-Walker, who joined our team earlier this month. In this newly created position, Anissa will use her integrated marketing strategies and messaging experience to attract new and returning guests. And her heart is already aligned with the special spirit of this place. In this reflection, Anissa shares about how her attention has shifted since attending a workshop led by the SPC Farmers for the Presbyterians for Earth Care Conference. Read Anissa's full bio here.



When I lift my fork or spoon full of food to my mouth during a meal, food justice usually isn't the first thing that comes to my mind. I usually ask myself, was my grace good? Was God pleased by it? My attention then gravitates to the aromas and anticipation of all the deliciousness awaiting me on my plate. All that has now changed. After experiencing a workshop during this summer's Presbyterians for Earth Care (PEC) 2019 Conference, I am more mindful about food.

The PEC gathering just so happened to coincide with my very first week of working at Stony Point Center (SPC). The workshop I attended was titled "Conceptualizing Food Justice." SPC food growers, Amirah Abulughod and Will Summers, joined Andrew Kang Bartlett, a national associate for the Presbyterian Hunger Program, in facilitating the workshop.  The first activity was an exercise in mindfulness. The facilitators asked the participants to gather in small groups and discuss colors that we each individually associated with the words "food" and "justice." Odd, because I had never attributed a color to either one of those words. As I pondered this, it felt as if my brain was trying to slow down to contemplate which color paired well with each word. I wasn't the only one in the room working this puzzle out in my head. The entire room of participants seemed to slow down, engaged in thought.

Of everything discussed in the hour-long workshop, the deliberate mindfulness of the color activity stuck with me. So, now when I sit down in the Stony Point Center dining hall for lunch and at my kitchen table for dinner, I am more conscientious of the food before me. I think about how what I am about to eat affects the earth. I think about what role I play in ensuring people less fortunate than I have locally-sourced, fresh fruits and vegetables at their tables. I say a prayer for the farmers and food workers who grow and prepare my food. And yes, I still give grace to God, but now with food justice on my mind.