Sharing food

By Molly Butler

It’s easy to give from abundance.

When my garden is overflowing with squash, or I make way too many cookies, it’s easy to seek out someone to take some off my hands. But how do we react to scarcity? What do we do when we have just enough?

I’m interested in studies on our closest animal relatives: the chimpanzee and the bonobo. Each species shares 98.7% of our DNA. Between these two, Chimpanzees are more aggressive and manipulative. They hoard food and will even turn to violence to protect their hoard. Food sharing among Chimpanzees typically only occurs through passive tolerance of theft or when they give in to relentless begging and harassment. But in a cage with a locked door and an endless pile of bananas, the chimp would happily sit on their pile, ignoring the chimps outside, hoarding more than they could possibly eat, letting fellow chimps go hungry as their excessive bananas rot.

In comparison, Bonobos are little givers. When put in a cage with bananas, and a gate leading to a fellow bonobo with no bananas, the bonobo always opens the gate before eating. Bonobos voluntarily share food, even when it’s high-value food, even when they could keep their cage door closed and hoard it to themselves. They open the gate even when there is very little to share.

The difference between us and the chimps and bonobos is that we get to choose.

These studies were interesting because prior to them, voluntary food sharing was thought to be exclusively human behavior. But not all human beings share. In fact, nine new billionaires were created during Covid-19, while 114 million people lost their jobs. Many people suffer and die preventable deaths because they do not have resources. Others hoard more than they could possibly make use of. This isn’t an opinion. It’s a fact.

Between these two closest relatives, neither is necessarily correct. They are two different species following different instincts and evolutions. When it comes to sharing, we appear to fall somewhere in the middle. The difference between us and the chimps and bonobos is that we get to choose.

Have a wonderful weekend. Be good to one another.


There’s nothing like the County Fair! The Nicollet County Fair is at the Fairgrounds in St. Peter! This event has been making memories since 1871. Stop by for Carnival rides, Grandstand events and more! Admission is FREE, but you can get your tickets in advance for events and rides. Or swing by the Brown County Free Fair, happening in New Ulm. Check out the schedule.

Help the Minneopa State Park to clean up invasive species and collect native prairie seeds. Volunteer opportunities are available this Friday from 8-10 a.m. Email to register in advance.

The Coffee Hag Open Mic is back! Check out wonderful local musicians, poets and storytellers. Sign-up begins at 5:30 p.m. This event is open to anyone wishing to share their skills and passions. The newly opened Cork & Key Wine and Bottle shop of Mankato is hosting Happy Hour with the Libation Project! Stop by from 4-6 p.m. for FREE samples, must be 21+.

Head to the HUB for outdoor music brought to you by the YMCA’s Camp Patterson Rockin’ My Chacos counselors. Enjoy music, games and raffles prizes from 5:30-7:00 p.m.


The Mankato Farmers’ Market will be in the Best Buy parking lot from 8 a.m. to noon, featuring fresh, locally grown produce and local crafters and vendors. The KNUJ Farmers’ Market will be at the Case Wise Foods in New Ulm from 9 a.m. to noon. Lots of good veggies are in season, so stop by!

Hoopin’ on the Hill is an exciting 3-on-3 street-ball style basketball tournament that will take place on the beautiful Loyola Catholic School campus. This is for anyone 4th grade and up, even adults! Games begin at 9 a.m. with concessions available. Register here! It’s Psychic Saturday at Christy’s Crystals in Mankato! Stop by for Oracle Card Readings, Palm Readings, Crystal Healing and more, available from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pst! It’s Free Comic Book Day at the Dork Den on Riverfront! Stop by their location and get the scoop.

As always, we have wonderful live music all over Southern Minnesota. Becky Borneke and In a Bind, the Jamboyz and the Ditch Creek Dixies will all be at the Indian Island Winery in Janesville from noon to 9 p.m. The Barefoot Winos will play distinctive blues at Chankaska Creek in Kasota. Mark and Kaleb will be on the patio at Javens Family Vineyard and Winery. Plus, you can catch Ethan Becker at the Coffee Hag from 5-7 p.m., Ben Scruggs at the MonaLena in New Ulm from 6-9 p.m. and Angel Val at the Westwood Marina and Bar in Kasota from 6:30-9:30 p.m.


Wind down your weekend with Sunday Yoga and Brunch with Kelly Holland at the Morgan Creek Vineyard in New Ulm from 10-11 a.m. Practice mindful movement for all ages and levels, followed by a light brunch paired with Morgan Creek Myst.

Chris Bertrand will play The 507 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Hanna Cesario will be at the Coffee Hag from noon to 2 p.m. Carter Guse will perform 1-3:30 p.m. at the Indian Island Winery in Janesville, and the Bier Garten Boys will be at the Schell’s Biergarten from 1-4:30 p.m. The Landing on Lake Madison will host Jeremy Poland and Lantz Dale from 3-6 p.m., and the Mary Guentzel Quintet will be at the Westwood Marina from 4-7 p.m.

Bonus: Free Generosity

So, you’re not a chimp with a pile of bananas. And maybe, like a lot of people, you’re not exactly overflowing with cash to hand out. The great news is, you can be generous for FREE:

    1. Write a positive review for your favorite businesses
    2. Share your expertise
    3. Volunteer your time (visiting nursing homes, packing backpacks, serving meals)
    4. Give blood
    5. Lend a hand
    6. Add to a Little Free Library
    7. Share your favorite artists on social media to boost their reach
    8. Send good news story ideas to local media
    9. Donate excess items you no longer need
    10. Listen: active and generous listening is a superpower


Weekend High Notes is a regular feature by Molly Butler. Molly covers weekend events, live music, and culture in the Greater Mankato Area. Suggestions are welcome using the MankatoLIFE contact form.