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If you have not done so, please read the Healing Earth Introduction before proceeding through this chapter. The Introduction gives you background terms and explanations necessary for understanding the chapter.

For many of us, the sight of food growing in fields is uncommon. This has been replaced by the more common sight of food on grocery store shelves.1

In our contemporary world, many urban dwellers are in the habit of thinking that food comes from grocery stores. The global migration of people from rural to urban areas has separated millions of us from the routine sight of crops growing in fields and animals feeding in pastures. In this Food Chapter, you are encouraged to bring fields and pastures into your imagination. This is an important first step for understanding food from an ecological perspective.

As in each Healing Earth chapter, this chapter begins by explaining key concepts in food science. The chapter then moves to a discussion of ethical norms that should guide how we produce, process, distribute, consume, and dispose of food. A unique feature of each Healing Earth chapter is an exploration of environmental spirituality. In this chapter, you will explore various spiritual meanings that human beings have given to food production and consumption since ancient times. Finally, the chapter highlights actions currently taken around the world to improve food availability, quality, sustainability.