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 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.