Creating community around the dinner table with Christine Bailey

You may have heard about the benefits of having a family meal time, but the reality of living in the modern world can make it a challenge to create that space. 

Mealtimes are not only for nourishing our bodies, but they are also times to cultivate connection with family and friends. On this episode of The Balanced Life, Christine Bailey joins me to discuss tips to help you slow down periodically to create a special time to enjoy family and friends around the table.

Christine Bailey is a writer, social entrepreneur, and produce farmer who has been cultivating a life of nourishment and community and inspiring others to do the same. Listen to our conversation as we chat about her journey to farming life, building connections around meals, and the transformation that takes place when people consciously slow down to eat together.

You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in…

  • Christine’s journey from the music industry to the farm table [1:22]
  • How Christine is involved with Lindywell [7:53]
  • Creating meaningful family meal times [13:00]
  • The communal experience of Kindred dinners [22:08]
  • How people transform when they slow down to eat together [24:39]
  • Fun rapid-fire questions [34:48]

Christine’s journey to farming life

Christine Bailey didn’t grow up as a farmer; she grew up in an Italian-American family in New Jersey. Watching the Food, Inc. documentary inspired her and her husband to learn more about local agriculture which led her to seek out small farms in her community. After getting to know the farmers and their offerings, she decided to put together a local food co-op starting with 17 families. That little co-op quickly blossomed into 2300 families. 

Christine’s social entrepreneurship didn’t stop there. She and her husband became so inspired by the farmers they worked with that they began their own urban backyard farm in Dallas, Texas. After having her two daughters Christine and her husband decided to fully immerse themselves in farm life, so they sold their businesses and moved across the country to Tennessee to try their hand at organic farming. Listen in to hear her story.

The benefits of gathering around the table

There is something that grounds us when we sit around the table face to face to enjoy a meal. This magical time is a way to truly connect with those around you. Pausing to gather at the table creates space to slow down to the speed of listening. No matter who you are you have to eat, so the act of gathering for a meal brings everyone down to the same level. 

Creating meaningful family meal times

Growing up in a large Italian-American family, Christine learned to value shared meals around the table with extended family. This atmosphere taught her how easily and deeply that community is built over food. While food is fuel for the body, it is best enjoyed with others. Gathering around food brings a connection that is hard to form in other ways. 

With the busy schedules of modern life, many of us struggle to maintain a consistent family meal time. Christine has a few ideas that could help you make this a part of your family’s routine.

She emphasizes that family mealtimes don’t have to happen every day. Instead, she recommends creating a rhythm that you can follow to set the intention to eat together a few times a week. 

If you have young children in the house there is the added drama of the complaints and the mess involved in mealtimes. Just like with Pilates, Christine recommends starting where you are. Don’t strive for perfection and don’t be afraid of the mess. 

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Christine Bailey

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