Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hope Is A Thing With Greens

Yesterday, I wrote about how our food system is broken. And it is! Food safety scares emerge every other month. High fructose corn syrup has slipped into our whole grain bread, our tomato soup. Animal cruelty brutal enough to make even the jaded cringe occurs every day within our polluting factory farms.

And, yet, today I write about hope. Yes. We are grown ups now. Yes. We must open our eyes, look at our problems as they are and make the decision to fix them. And, yet, strength and will alone are not enough. As David Wann noted in Simple Prosperity, "we are wasting our time if we expel hope from our everyday lives, because without it, we can’t win."

Emily Dickenson once wrote that "hope is a thing with feathers."

I disagree.

I think hope is a thing with greens, gently tucked into a CSA box or graciously displayed on a farmers' market table.

Hope is blackberry jam made and canned with friends, who have all since made their own jam in their own homes.

Hope is a pantry filled with jars of dried tomatoes and blueberries.

Hope is looking at the last piece of my front lawn and knowing that, next year, I will be watering tomatoes instead of grass.

Hope is the family of ladybugs that multiplied in last winter's cover crop and the black squirrels who scale the remaining sunflowers.

Hope is the cattle rancher on the slopes of Napa County who donated 600 acres to a land trust, who raises her cattle in the pasture with only native grasses as food, who welcomes snakes and owls as pest control.

Hope is reversing the trend toward destruction of biodiversity (90% in the last 50 years - 70% due to farming and ranching) by buying from farms that grow diverse crops, eschew chemicals, and adopt methods that embrace the ecosystem.

Hope is the massive surge in new farms near urban areas.

Hope is Proposition 2 on the California ballot this November. (Vote a resounding YES!).

Hope is knowing that we could sequester up to 40% of current carbon emissions just by converting the world to an organic instead of industrial agricultural system.

Hope is the fact that farmer's markets - where food is grown locally, often by small operations and often without pesticides or inhumane treatment - are the fastest growing segment of the food industry.

And hope is the fact that, even though our food system is broken, we are fixing it. Forkful by forkful, dollar by dollar, we are building a new food system. One that is fair and humane. One that relies on biodiversity, not chemicals. One that can lay the foundation for all of the other changes we must make, for all of the other systems we must repair, for the road we - as grown ups - have ahead of us.

Hope is a thing with greens. And of hope, I have plenty.


Burbanmom said...

Nice post. I'm currently reading "The End of Food" by the author of "The End of Oil". I've only just started it, but am hoping it has a surprise ending.

Mama said...

I love this post! Hope is so important for us to have, and every time we pick a tomato from our garden,our buy corn from our farmer's market, we can hope some more! Well said,

amanda said...

love your post and i am so excited to read about the 40% increase in seed sales. that is amazing and inspiring!!!

Abbie said...

There was a great article in National Geographic's September issue about the value of soil. One part of it mentions that rebuilding degraded soils is another method to sequester carbon. So by improving agricultural practices, we'll also be decreasing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.

Wonderful post, GB.

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Beautiful post! You are right that there is a lot to be hopeful about, and a lot of work left to be done. We need to know that when we support these sustainable systems we are giving hope to the future every time. And without hope - what is the point of shouldering on everyday?

MamaBird said...

This is beautiful. I so agree - there are signs of hope everywhere. I went to pick up my bike from the shop yesterday and the guy who worked on it commented (cause i asked what the delay was in getting the parts we needed) that they can't keep anything in stock. Cause so many more people are riding bikes. He said in particular, paniers that you'd put on the back of your bike to hold, say, groceries or your work clothes? They just cannot keep in stock. Hope!

Lisa Sharp said...

Wonderful post. Hope is why I buy organic food, spend more to buy a green product over a normal one, spend hours recycling, etc.. Hope that we can make a difference.

Green Bean said...

Burbs: Love to hear your thoughts on End of Food.

Mama: It is nice to see the food system changing. It shows that we can do it, that we have a great deal of power.

Amanda: Isn't that number astounding! Last year, I anguished over ripping out the grass in my front yard to make way for edible gardens. This year, everyone's telling me it would be a selling point. How attitudes change.

Abbie: We spend so much time talking about oil, water and such that soil is often forgotten. How great is it that we can rebuild it and sequester carbon at the same time.

Jennifer: Absolutely. We need to keep hope alive and seeing the food system change does that.

MamaBird: Awesome! See, hope is spreading. :)

Lisa: Yes! That is why we try to live more sustainably.

Mia said...

Thanks for this post. I must admit that over the last few days I've been feeling overwhelmed by all the bad stuff. Thanks for reminding us to look at the bright side.

Fake Plastic Fish said...

Beautiful! I have very little hope when I look out at my pitiful tomatoes right now (one plant only made 3 tomateos, and they are still green!) but more hope when I imagine what I'll do next year and that I have met so many of you to help me do it.

Going Crunchy said...

Rock on! Great post G.B. Even though I'm composting flop and my garden tomatoes were bitter, I tried and will keep trying harder. It's hopeful.

Kellie said...

Bravo - I loved reading this. It put a smile on my face!


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