What is Village Fire?

Last week I indirectly participated in a unique event. My capacity was significantly food related by I still witnessed many amazing things at the event.

Village Fire is an annual four day event that takes place in the driftless region of Decorah Iowa. It is an “intergenerational” gathering of individuals who come together to sing, dance and create. Each day as I walked from my car to the kitchen I observed basket weaving, wood carving, percussion and song circles and much more. When I first signed on to help cater this event I had been warned that this crowd was unique, that was an understatement; a plethora of dietary restrictions, openess to all things – nudity, LGBTQ and more – people in wizard shirts, just to name some of the traits I witnessed. I began to get a better sense of the demographic as I spoke to the volunteers and participants.

People had come from across the United States, California to the Appalachians, some had biked – to conserve fossil fuel use or even just because of the enjoyment of the sport – many people camped out on site and everyone was genuinely kind. They were the kind of people who promoted their psychic abilities, got lost during a conversation only to stare deep into your soul and ate honey of spoons rather than put it in their tea. They lived on sustainable farms, cooked off the land, prioritized reducing environmental impact and sought to better themselves in the body, mind and spirit. (Oh wait that’s me, but I wasn’t alone.) Needless to say, I fit right in, and much to my surprise I loved it. I was able to share my stories and experiences here at Pepperfield as well as my Food Philosophy to a crowd that was very receiving.

Village fire was such a valuable experience for me on so many levels. It gave me new insights towards my future in food. I worked with some fantastic people in a great environment and thoroughly enjoyed myself. As I mentioned in the week 10 post there were even a few times where the kitchen felt busy. The atmosphere came alive and it was a living example of Stress vs Pressure. I went through a perspective shift of what the kitchen environment was (and what it could be). This was in part due to the awesome chef I worked with, Ruth Hampton. She too has a food philosophy, chants and recites mantras while cooking and shares some of food ethics as well. (I have an interview scheduled and I am very excited!) I also began to see new parts of myself and what I hope to achieve. Sharing my Food Philosophy to a receiving audience was so rewarding. I was promoting something that, not only am I passionate about, but sharing a set of beliefs that I truly stand behind. I experienced many of the same sentiments I encounter when I share my stories and these beliefs with you. This whole event left me more awake, refreshed, excited and very optimistic towards the future.

I can’t fully explain what the event was with just words, hopefully this will do it some justice.

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