Bella Oliver-Steinberg

Food for Thought

I have always had a conscious mind of what I was consuming. At a young age, I looked at food as something larger than just a meal. What I consumed meant something and did something to the world. Early on, I made a connection to what I was eating and the larger impact it had on the world. Everything we do ripples out to a larger cause, and it occurred to me that eating animals affected them as well. In fact, it harmed them. I instantly stopped eating meat, and soon stopped eating animal products entirely. As I learned more about animal agriculture, I became frustrated. Frustrated by the inhumane treatment of the animals. Frustrated because it seemed so simple to me that the mass farming of animals was unfair and unjust, but no one seemed to agree. For years, I felt anger towards people who did not share my beliefs. It wasn’t until I matured where I began to understand that anger and frustration do not persuade people and in reality, only push people away. Compassion and connections bind people together.

This is why Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary is so amazing. I first attended the sanctuary withThe Raven Corps. We, as a youth-led nonprofit, focus on the correlation between environmental sustainability, empathy, and a plant-based diet. Our goal is to help others live more sustainably and compassionately by adopting as much of a plant-based diet as possible. We do this through outreach events, street activism, raising public awareness, and other advocacy. Once we were introduced to Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary, we were ecstatic. Not only were we excited for ourselves, but we saw Lighthouse as a form of outreach. The sanctuary allows people to actually interact and form a connection with those that may have been their dinner. I was moved as I walked into Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary. I saw real friendships between different species ranging from a chicken and a pig to a human and a goat. Although I had a strong passion and pull towards animals, this was different. Being able to form connections with the friendliest goat, Lemon, and sit with the famous bison, Helen, was truly something that had a monumental impact on me. I realized this was a pure form of activism for our cause.

Yes, it is difficult to connect the food on one’s plate with a living being, but making true connections with these animals makes it easier. My perspective of our relationship with animals has changed since my first experience at Lighthouse, and I feel lucky to have had so many interactions with the kind animals who have found a safe haven at the sanctuary.