I visited a local organic dairy farm and apiculture site recently. There was a similarity between the two places that really struck a chord in my heart, the connection to culture and children. Anna’s passion resonated with the words she spoke about her work on the farm built by her grandfather. When proposed with a question about her children potentially carrying on the family business, her eyes were full of pride when answered with her hope her daughter will. The joy on her face was contagious when she reminisced about a time when she dropped off a delivery to a local school where they provide yogurt and cheese for the kids’ lunches. Ramon, the beekeeper, hosts field trips to his beehives everyday, which came about because his son did a project about what his parents did for a living. These stories reminded me of my time in the classroom learning about what the Mediterranean diet is and my childhood.
The Mediterranean diet is often thought of as eating mass amounts of olive oil, wine, and bread, but recently I learned that it is more than that. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization also known as UNESCO, the Mediterranean diet is classified as an “intangible heritage”. The diet is a way of life that is a mean of socialization with the community and loved ones instead of components of meal. To me, the most important aspect of the way of life is concept of passing on traditions generation to generation. Just as Anna hopes to pass on the family business down to her daughter and Ramon teaching his son and local schools the importance of bees. The idea of teaching children important habits and customs to keep a culture alive is something I appreciate because it reminds me of home.
My family’s culture has shaped me into the person I am today. Similar to the Mediterranean diet, my traditions are centered around spending time with loved ones, past and present. In my family, we celebrate instead of mourning our relatives’ lives of those who past with a gathering with their favorite dishes and pray to them asking for guidance through our lives. My parents have always emphasized the importance of being at these parties and as a kid, I never understood why. Listening to Anna and Ramon talk about the positive impact the young community have on their businesses had reminded me why my mom and dad were strict on our attendance to these parties. It was about spending time with the ones closest to me and learning about how things work and who I am culturally. I hope when I am older I get the chance to pass down these practices to my children one day. I firmly believe that children are the future. Feeding the ideas of being respectful, skillful, healthy, innovative, courageous, and imaginative to the next generation who will hopefully make the world a better place. Most importantly, the youth of the world is how heritage is passed down and kept alive. The future is their hands, but I have to help pave the way first. I recently became a godmother and experiencing my favorite traditions with him is something that I can not wait to do when I get home. I hope he will feel as proud as I am about my culture and making the world a better place.
Note: All pictures were edited.