Thursday, March 15, 2007

More songs about food and buildings

I am the queen of incomplete thoughts. It's a kind of verbal ADHD. Anyway, one of the link-ups missing from my previous posts is why I'm always talking and thinking about food, beyond some crappy privileged view that eating organic is my right and more pleasant to boot--in other words, how it manifests itself for me as an ethical rather than simply an aesthetic issue. Where does the rubber meet the road?

Let me go on record as saying that everyone deserves to have food that is not covered in toxic waste (not to mention that the people who plant and pick and process food deserve not to have to handle said toxic waste). Everyone deserves to eat (read: to be able to afford to eat) food that is fresh, nutritious, and yes, pleasing to the taste. Everyone, meaning everyone in every place on earth, deserves to have dignified and adequately compensated work. These three principles are intimately connected, although some would have us believe that one needs to pick and choose.

While I understand that not everyone is a gardening dork like I am, that some may prefer not to grow their own food, I do think that local farming/gardening and local markets are the answer to the issue of fair eating. Local means that African cotton farmers do not have to compete with American subsidized and commodified cotton (OK, so cotton isn't a food; but substitute grain and you'll get the picture). Local means my community has some control over the practices that produce our food. Local means that the peaches that I eat in the Peach State are not picked green and trucked in from California at the expense of huge amounts of fossil fuel. And yes, it means no out-of-season grapes from Chile or apples from New Zealand or, strictly speaking, bananas at all, unless I grow them in a passively solar-heated greenhouse. It means probably not all Americans should pile into the water-starved southwest, or pave over vast tracts of midwestern farmland to make more Suburubia (guilty as charged). But local food is also the means to see that communities remain more or less in control of their own food supply rather than falling prey to government commodity schemes (70% of all U.S. commodity payments go to 10% of the farmers; most farmers are never eligible) or, globally, to punitive or variable humanitarian "aid" sources.

I'm always a little bit of a pontificator (no, really, Simpleton, tell us how you feel), but I'm particularly on a rant today because I watched a Bread for the World video regarding the Farm Bill up for reappropriation this year. See it, and call or write your congresspeople.

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