Learning how to ride the unrideable bike. (Things are really good out there. We promise.)

Instead of asking what can go wrong, what if we asked a different question: what can go right?

Learning how to ride the unrideable bike. (Things are really good out there. We promise.)
Bryan Slayton, Bad Wraps Inc., MLK Ave., Chattanooga, Tennessee

Wed. Nov. 1

Here at Food as a Verb, we've got many big reasons for what we do. One of them is to offer an unorthodox, nourishing form of media that runs counter to what's mass-produced in media-land.

They make you scared.

We offer ease.

They publish chaos, grabbing your attention and taking it into some very dark rooms.

We publish health, inviting your attention to remember some really beautiful parts of life.

In the face of war, violence, suffering, heartache, hatred and instability, we are also saying: there's grandeur, joy, calm and community here, too.

Help us tell the stories of local food. Email david@foodasaverb.com

In 2018, Steven Pinker's Enlightenment Now argues that, statistically, this is the very best time to be alive. Through graphs and reason, he points to global phenomena that document an upward trend: we're living longer, healthier, smarter, wealthier lives.

But we don't see this, do we?

And when we do, it feels like ... a guilty pleasure? That it's wrong to smile when so many others mourn?

This was always the unrideable bicycle for me. As a columnist, I could peddle the one wheel that took me down the road of "What's Wrong" – and damn, what a long road that is.

And so it seemed inappropriate or improper to peddle a parallel road of "What's Right."

Thankfully, I've learned otherwise, that it is not only possibly but necessary to couple, marry and merge the difficult, heartache news with the beautiful, wholesome and sustainable.

We learn the language of a new question.

"What could go right?" asks The Progress Network.

The Progress Network is a weekly newsletter, podcast and website devoted to "the people, ideas and news pointing the world in a positive direction."

Did you know deforestation is slowing in Brazil?

Or that natural disasters are far less disastrous?

Or that poverty is decreasing worldwide? So, too, AIDS.

"We're locked in a zeitgeist of negativity and cynicism right now. There are certainly many reasons for us to feel that the world is going to hell," Emma Varvaloucas tells Tricycle. "But there's actually a lot of evidence for the opposite. There are many indicators that we're building a world that's going in a constructive direction and a lot of people just don't know about them."

Hence, attention. How frequently does mass media hogtie and take hostage our attention? And then, after being submerged in so much fear, we come up for air more rattled, defensive and afraid than ever.

"Are we choosing a way that's going to lead to more problems down the road? Are we choosing a cure that is worse than the disease?" Varvaloucas asks.

Yes, there is massive violence happening today. No one is denying that.

Yet, if there were some measurable scale, I'd argue that it points to a much wider, deeper and broader landscape populated with kindness, community and mutuality happening every day, all day.

Otherwise, we wouldn't be here.

Bryan Slayton, Bad Wraps Inc., MLK Ave., Chattanooga, Tennessee

Three days ago, we published a feature on the indomitable Bryan Slayton and his story that took 31 years to tell. Slayton, who could resentfully define his life by the three decades he spent behind bars, instead is leaning fully into today: his family, restaurant, community and city.

I'd forgotten to include one part of his story: he wants to specifically thank former US Senator Bob Corker and President Donald Trump for legislation that led to his release. And most of all?

"God," he said. "He has kept me and is turning what was meant as a lesson to a sure 'nuff blessing."

This Sunday, we'll offer a contemplative look at the power of place with a very exciting announcement about an event on Friday, Nov. 17 at The Camphouse.

Oh yeah. Almost forgot.

Christmas music starts today.

All photography by Sarah Unger. Visit SarahCatherinePhoto.com

Story ideas? Interested in sponsorship opportunities + supporting our work? Feedback or questions? Email David Cook at david@foodasaverb.com. This story is 100% human generated; no AI chatbot was used in the creation of this content.

Food as a Verb thanks our sustaining partners for their generous support.

Regional Farmers Markets

  • Main St. Farmers Market, Corner of W. 20th and Chestnut St., near Finley Stadium

Wednesday, 4 - 6pm

  • Brainerd Farmers Market, Grace Episcopal Church, 20 Belvoir Ave,

Saturday, 10am - noon

  • Chattanooga Market, 1820 Carter Street

Sunday, 11am - 4pm

  • Ooltewah Farmers Market, The Ooltewah Nursery

Thursday, 3 - 6pm 

  • Signal Mountain Farmers Market

Pre-order online for Thursday pick-up between 4 - 6pm at Bachman Community Center

  • St. Albans Farmers Market, 7514 Hixson Pike

Saturday, 9.30am - 12.30pm with a free pancake breakfast every third Saturday  

  • Walker County Farmers Market

Wednesday, 2 - 5 pm, Rock Spring Ag. Center 

Saturday, 9 am - 1 pm, downtown Lafayette, Georgia

To include your farmers market, email david@foodasaverb.com

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