Food for Thought: You're Invited to My Dinner Table


Welcome! You’re invited to my dinner table.

At this dinner, you’re invited to bring yourself, your hunger and your thoughts. I ask you to open your mind and your palate. You see, at my dinner table, I’ll share with you the foods that reflect who I am.

For dinner, I’ll serve a traditional Cantonese dish that my mom taught me how to make: baked sweet soy pork chops with rice and bok choy. It’s from her home country of Hong Kong. This is how I share my identity as a first generation, Asian American woman.

For dinner, I’ll source my food from Green City Market vendors. I buy pork chops from Finn’s Ranch and bok choy from Leaning Shed Farm. This is how is how I share my beliefs and morals. I believe that we should support our local farms, and celebrate those who treat the land they farm with care.

For dinner, I’ll seat you at my round dining table. There are no ‘heads’ of the table. You will be able to interact with my other dinner guests and see all of their faces. This is how I host my guests. Everyone has an equal part in the meal, as well as the dinner conversation.

This experience at my dinner table demonstrates the power that we all have with our food.

First, it has the power to unite people. When people gather, whether it is to celebrate, announce, rejoice or share, they do it over food. Globally, families and loved ones unite over a table of food. Here in the States, we have holidays, such as Thanksgiving, where it is a ritual to gather over a table of food with loved ones.

Second, it has the power to define individuals and communities. We all cook the food based on what was taught to us or what we’ve learned, whether it is recipes passed down from our families, culture or diets. We could cook a meal based on current trends or our beliefs. At Green City Market, we believe that the food of the Midwest helps define local cuisine, and that local foods have a place in all cuisines.

Third, it has the power to support farmers and our land. In an era of technology, producing food is still a practice that connects humans to the Earth through farming. How we farm and tend to the land is an expression of how our food choices affect our community and Mother Earth. Also, we are in an age where there are many middle-men that get a piece of the money we put towards our food system. At Green City Market, we highlight vendors that produce their own foods and products, so our customers know their purchases are direct from producer to consumer.

Lastly, I acknowledge that the food system has the power to discriminate. We have a system where big agriculture corporations control what food items are available to certain communities, and poverty affects how these communities source their food. This is a food access issue. So as we unite at my dinner table, let’s have a discussion where we define what our ideal Chicago food system looks like, and support each other and our Earth in the process.

- Taylor Choy, GCM Communications Coordinator

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