The older I get, the more I regard the seasons as a practice period for everlasting change. The dark turns into night and the Great Spirit reveals itself in its perpetual resurrection of spring into summer and now autumn into winter. I am no longer young and lithe ... but I am alive! I'm also hungry for change. I am elucidated and emancipated and educated enough to know what matters. Food matters!
I read a headline today, and it illustriously imagined Food Democracy in our world. As I venture into these middle years of my life, how can I help move this idea forward?
First I must relax, relax and learn from this sensuous delicious place I call home. Here in the central coast, a plethora of tastes of locavores, herbivores, omnivores and even poopivors surround me. Farmers markets blossom every day of the week in these parts with opulent stalls from Dirty Girl Produce, Farmhouse Culture and Frog Hollow Farms to name a few. The markets are always jammed. Everyone wants justice on their plate. From my neighbors that seek the range-roving fowl and locally grown greens to my canines that cherish the nearby coyote scat... We all want to understand and know that which sustains us.
Having a deep relationship with our food is democracy in action, on the plate, tongue, belly, mind and spirit.
The agricultural phenomena which a misguided Butz once instituted only wrought disengagement from the land, polluted streams, contaminated seeds and improvised land holders, all once rich in biodiversity. His policies favored large-scale corporate farming and he was once infamously quoted as saying, "get big or get out." He was to be proven prophetically wrong in those utterances.
Now the declaration is "grow local, go organic, non-GMO, be delicious, small or large I want to know and to eat you!" A new way of interacting with our sustenance is upon is.
Achieving Food Democracy requires action and a series of deep questions related not just to our present but also to our future.
Let us teach the children how broccoli heads are brilliant green and bulbous, and how beet root quivers as its first sprouts emerge so red and ruddy and virulent, perky in their freshness. Teach them that healthy soils feed us!
Regenerative soil plays a part in mitigating our changing climate. When is the time to grow earthworms and castings if not now?
Let us raise, nurture and harvest wisely the animals of which we partake. Shall we perhaps eat fewer of them?
Shall we steward our waters that issue forth from babbling springs, our oceans, rivers and streams? Should we treat them as a one of life's vital meridians that we share with the planet, directly related to the well-being of both? Is filling them with nitrates and plastics and toxic pesticides a sustainable option?
Do we have gratitude for the person wrapping our morning burrito? Are we willing to pay her fairly so she can feed, house and protect her children such as we would our own? She who feeds us?
Shall we give back to the land riches and fecundity, green manure and wild bees that pollinate, and fertilize the landscape? Hedgerows pastures, meadows and wetlands. Preservation, sequestration, the wind wet in the night; deer and mountain lion, wild boar, black crow, nature herself to be cherished and protected.
Is it not now all on our plate?
I believe the time is nigh for Food Democracy as our world spins and teeters towards a new light.
Yes, it is the end of year and I am not yet at the end of my dreaming of how this food republic could take shape. I am here to create a fever and ferment or a new way to fill our plate. We can all be part of the magic; won't you help me brew this new fair and equitable place into being? Food Democracy may just yet be our hope for the future. Have a delicious New Year!