Aquilegia formosa

what I’ve been up to January 23, 2010

…because I haven’t been blogging. 🙂

I’ve been working away diligently at being a mom and at being an awesome social worker.

I’ve been reading lots of blogs about yummy, frugal, local meals:

I’ve been thinking and researching local food (on the ‘net) and the academic literature around this whole food movement. I picked up a few books from my university’s library. They are:

  • The Slow Food Story by Geoff Andrews, 2008.
  • French Beans and Food Scares: Culture and Commerce in an Anxious Age by Susanne Freidberg, 2004.
  • Outgrowing the Earth: the Food Security Challenge in an Age of Falling Water Tables and Rising Temperatures by Lester R. Brown, 2004.
  • Diet for a Dead Planet: How the Food Industry is Killing Us by Christopher D. Cook, 2004.

I didn’t have much time at the library, so I just grabbed according to publication date and then interest in the title or back jacket blurb. I don’t know that I’m going to read them all – I really don’t have a lot of time, I have papers to write on a few different subjects. Diet for a Dead Planet sounds a little grim for me , but the back jacket quotes Frances Moore Lappe (author of Diet for a Small Planet, a cookbook I remember fondly from my childhood) about how the book can “motivate change before it’s too late… we don’t have to be victims.” So I read self-empowerment in that, a bottom-up, grassroots approach to changing food production. Outgrowing the Earth seems like it will be similar, but with a global warming, population surging, environmental science approach, rather than a political, economic, health care approach to the topic. I’m not too into grim, scary, however. I don’t need all the evidence recounted to me, I find it overwhelming and depressing. I’d rather skip right to the ‘what to do’ chapters.

The Slow Food Story seems interesting so far; I’ve read half of the chapter on the history of the movement, in Italy in the 70’s as an offshoot of leftist political action. I like that premise – that the pleasure taken in eating well can be a political action. That by making ethical food choices, I am making a political statement. That is empowering to me because I feel like I have no political clout in this country, even though I exercise my democratic right to vote. My vote counts for squat because of the party system. By participating in the politics of food production, I’m participating in direct democracy. This might be the book to focus on for this semester.

I also read a few great blog posts about packaged foods, quitting grocery shopping, and the ethics of raising chickens and buying seeds. These posts have got me thinking so much, I’m planning separate blog posts about each topic. I am fascinated by ethics. I’ve taken a couple of courses at my university on ethics, “morality and politics” and “ethics and public policy.” (The prof who taught those is currently teaching “environmental ethics” which I would have loved to take, if it hadn’t conflicted with a course required for my degree.) I think this journey I’ve begun is heavily related to doing what I think is right, moral, ethical. I think we have a responsibility, a duty of care, to one another and to this planet. If we are doing things that are killing plants, animals, ecosystems, entire human cultures, we are doing things that are wrong.

But are we doing harm intentionally? And do we see the harm we’re doing? Are we responsible for discovering and rectifying the damage? Can we compel others to do the same?

Thinking deep thoughts, that’s what I’ve been up to.


this is how it all began January 7, 2010

Filed under: Family,Food,Sustainable — aquilegiaformosa @ 1:56 pm
Tags: ,

… or not.

Because it’s been going for awhile. I’m the 34 year old child of hippies. My mom made her own yogurt. My dad lived in a tepee in someone’s yard one summer. I think I was 6. And before them, there were my farming ancestors. Okay, so the 20th century wasn’t all that productive for my family, farming-wise. But I’m a determined “back-to-the-lander” at least, in my mind. Really, I’m a suburban yuppie, guzzling gas and plastic faster than you can say Wal-Mart.

Speaking of Wal-Mart, the largest one in Canada just opened in my town a year ago. It is massive. My sister won’t set foot in it. It is, in her mind, an evil corporation. But, really, how can it be any different from any of the other corporations out there? I mean, really, Jimmy Pattison may be local, but he’s just as ruthless. So my sister and her boyfriend tell me to shop at Save-On-Foods, not Price-Smart. Because Save-On has a union, and Price-Smart was Pattison’s attempt to break the union… or something, I’m not sure, I probably stopped listening. Because they’re all corporations, and they all care about the bottom line. Profits. Money makes the world go ’round, y’know?

So I have another blog. It is intelligently and originally titled “random musings” and there I talk about all kinds of stuff, kind of whatever’s on my mind that I feel is worthy of publishing on the world wide web… but here I plan to be more focused. Here I plan to chart my progress toward reaching certain “goals” which you can read about in the tabbed pages, above.

Here is where I develop my master plan for creating a more sustainable future for my family.