on abundance and the agency marketplace

Guest Post from Jess Kotnour

Preface: I want to note the Agency Marketplace is for approved non-profits to get food from. I have not gone to the Community Food Bank as an individual or family hoping to get food, so I cannot speak to if this sense of abundance that I experience can extend to that. 

Each Thursday at 9:30, I drive to the south side of Tucson and get food at the Agency Marketplace of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona.  I use the word “get,” because I do not shop; there is no exchange of money.  

After making sure I am wearing closed-toed shoes, I grab a warehouse cart and get what I need for the next week for our work.  

When I first began here in Tucson, the deacon of my parish would go with me, explaining to me how it works. 

Some days, he tells me, there’s no meat. other days there are freezers full. 

Some days, he tells me, there are pallets of fresh tomatoes. Other days there are pallets of canned tomatoes. 

Although the deacon didn’t explicitly say it, there was an unspoken, but there is always enough. 

There may not always be enough of that one specific ingredient, but there is always enough.

There may not always be meat in the freezer, but there is always enough

There may not always be vegetable stock, but there is always enough.

There may not be enough this week, but there is always enough.

The deacon soon trusted me enough to go to the Marketplace solo.  

So each Thursday morning, I head to the Agency Marketplace by myself, yet I have never felt alone there.

The staff at the marketplace have quickly learned my name. 

There is one man who works there, who I call Randy because I have not actually learned his name, who reminds me of my goalkeeper coach growing up.  

Rarely when we talk to someone, do we use their name in the sentence, directly addressing them. 

Randy-not-Randy does this in the same way that my goalkeeper coach did. 

What’s good, Jess?

Lots of pork today, Jess.

There is a lightheadedness to him, to the entire marketplace.  

There is enough food for all here.

There is enough time to use a person’s name. 

There is always enough.

Some weeks, the agency marketplace is the place that is most similar to God’s kingdom to me, or at the very least the place that always causes me to pause and walk into abundance.  When I leave, I often want to call someone, to tell them about this abundance.  I want to tell them that the scarcity that capitalism and America sell us is a lie.  There is so much damn food, and we know this.  We know that we produce enough food to feed everyone on earth.  Lack of actual food is not the issue. 

When we enter into this lie of scarcity and lack, we take more than we need.  We hoard.  We save up.  When we take two servings of daily bread, someone goes without.  Not because there wasn’t enough bread, but because we took more than what we pray for in the Lord’s Prayer.  

When we have enough, all have enough.  When all have enough, we have enough.  

As I drive back to the church, I often have the refrain I first heard at the Garden Church stuck in my head:

there is enough and some to share.

there is enough and some to share.

Jess Kotnour is an Episcopal Service Corps Member with Beloved in the Desert in Tucson, Arizona. They are in the discernment process for the priesthood in the Episcopal Church and are interested in food, faith, and how to make churches outside of what we consider church.

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