It's not just about the food
For all the Community Organizers out there.
One of the things that we do regularly at our NYC We Like It Raw Meetups is meet up outside the context of just food. For instance this past weekend, after meeting up for dinner at Pure Food and Wine, we went out to a Poetry Slam to hear fantastic tales from young poets. Man, what an inspiring event! After the slam a few of us went down to a local lounge (smoke free in NYC) and enjoyed time dancing and catching up on life. I think our crew left at 3:30am - man do those raw foodies have energy to burn!
Even though it's the raw food that brings us together, we do our best to focus on things outside of food to keep the group momentum high and the energy fresh. Let's face it, after a while just talking about food becomes super boring. Especially if you've been into live food for more than a year.
I often tell new faces at our meetups that our group stands to be a collection of "cool people who just happen to be into raw foods, not raw food people who are trying to be cool."
Food is one of vehicles we use to bring us to better health. Health is one the vehicles we use to allow us to life to the fullest. There are many other vehicles out there as well.
It can't just be about the food.
The first meetups I attended, way back in the day, were almost always centered around the food aspect of health. Those raw food meetups often manifested in the form of potlucks and the occasional restaurant outings. Nothing wrong with that of course, but after a while I would notice that the communities that just got together around food slowly lost their momentum.
This wasn't just an in person experience, I also noticed the same thing online. The websites, the blogs and the forum boards that just focused on the food aspect of health also slowly lost their momentum. In some cases the forum boards that just focused on food ended up becoming a haven for belief based fanatics looking to aruge other fanatics over "the best way to eat."
Gabriel Cousens has a great quote, "You can't eat your way to god."
People are diverse and they have many interests. Even my friends that are very much about raw foods are deeply passionate about other subjects. As a raw food Community Organizer, it's your duty to keep your community holistic by regularly exploring topics outside of food.
We're seeing this more and more these days as the raw food community becomes more sophisticated. There is definitely a great emphasis on personal development, spirituality, physical fitness, gardening and creating an empowering career than when I first started my journey.
One of the reasons I've been a big fan of Twitter, and getting more of our community using the site, is because it gives us an opportunity to connect on topics outside of food. I love hearing about Bunny's latest travel adventure, Penni's time with her family, Debbie's parenting stories, Sunshine's music selection, Philip's career thoughts - I could go on and on.
Now that I think of it, the people in the raw food community that I look up to the most, care about the most and respect the most are people who are clearly not just about the food. They are the holistic ones that constantly remind others that health, and what you eat, is only one facet of life.
"Cool people who just happen to be into raw foods."