good_to_grow: holding-dirt (Default)

The North Amherst Community Farm illustrates how a local farm can be a home for education, accessible food, and community development in a variety of ways. 

Just Food now blogger (& Amherst prof) John Gerber posted an eloquent plea for support for NACF, which spells out some of their steps toward success.

good_to_grow: sunflower-w-bee (bumblebee)
Why I am an activist, 1 reason:  I am a citizen.  I take citizenship seriously. As Michael Pollan said, eating food is how we get to vote 3 times (or more) every day. Who and what am I voting for?  

Well, I vote for change - for using the tools at my disposal to change our food systems from conventional-destructive to organic-safe. From non-local send-your-money-to-strangers-who-are-millionaires to local, strengthen-the-community spending.   From only-for-the-wealthy, to here-for-all.  

To bring about this change, I work as a citizen. I model the needed change; I talk about the change; I find other people to work with to spread the change.

I have many tools for change. I use technology (Yes OMG Technology) like row covers and grow lights (b/c it's January, and otherwise I wouldn't be growing here in eastern Idaho's 0º Fahrenheit daytime highs). I use my brain, studying and experimenting and keeping records to get better. I use my body (cos hey, exercise *is* what bodies like! Along with happy activism!). And I use social organization, working *with* other people to spread the change and make it happen.

Here's the best explanation ever of "why personal change does not equal political change."  As Derrick Jensen points out, we have 3 choices in society: destroy, retreat & withdraw, or get busy and change the game from looting the planet to living on it sustainably.  His arguments seem very sound.

First, we can join the insanity and "win" at harming other people and the planet. Watch any TV show and you'll see how many of us play this game! Unfortunately at the end we all die and we kill the planet and countless other life forms too.  

The second choice is to retreat to a holier-than-thou "green consumer" stance. We're still playing the game of destruction, only now we're on the sidelines (or away in our gated green community) pretending we're better than the destroyers. But the destruction game is still going full speed ahead. Moreover, by thinking "do less, be less is how to stop hurting the earth" is to assume that everything we do is bad for the planet, and it's not! How arrogantly self-pitying to think humans aren't part of this planet's growing cycles as well as our recent addiction to destruction. We *can* do so many things that help the planet, far beyond "buying green".  So option 2, being a "green consumer", is not only ultimately ineffective, *and* still permits the larger destruction going on -- and even abets it by shutting up and just buying MOAR STUF (don't forget how many "green" products are sold by mega-mass-destruction-corporations: they know a profitable scam when the see it!) -- option 2 even sells us short as humans who can DO GOOD TOO. 

We're simply not going to change industrial-scale overconsumption of water by taking shorter showers at home. Gotta get out there and change the industry!  And that's where we choose option 3, to get off our passive easy-path consumer butts, and put on our citizen hats, and go use our people powers to change the way society does things.   So that's why even though I'm not the world's best at activist social-organization type of stuff, I am doing what I can, hunting out people i can do it with ... because I always find that there's a bunch of folks who do it way better than me! And then I can do it with them. Which makes it easy. :-) 

Forget Shorter Showers

Why personal change does not equal political change


Published in the July/August 2009 issue of Orion magazine

WOULD ANY SANE PERSON think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday, or that chopping wood and carrying water would have gotten people out of Tsarist prisons, or that dancing naked around a fire would have helped put in place the Voting Rights Act of 1957 or the Civil Rights Act of 1964? Then why now, with all the world at stake, do so many people retreat into these entirely personal “solutions”?

Read more... )


good_to_grow: micro-soil (soil microphotograh)
So the writer for the New York Times gets this week's NICE TRY BUT KEEP GOING, YOU'RE ONLY HALFWAY THERE Award.

She tested 4 composting systems, which is cool. They're really different approaches to the composting "challenge," which is also cool. She describes them in fair detail, including their price, convenience, general plan or approach, and ... um ... color and style and finish.  



Maybe the reason she forgot is because her whole original reason for composting is guilt. Yeah. Her kids made her do it.  Okay and there's also some later glee that instead of just emptying out Monday's uneaten sack lunch bits into the trash, they actually go to making compost. 

But basically? I think I can answer the question she asks but cannot answer, of what would get people to compost more willingly. It's this: WHEN YOU LOVE AND WANT AND NEED AND USE COMPOST - and it's free - YOU'RE HAPPY TO MAKE IT.

i mean - free planet repair, people! Free soil for the best veggies you can ever grow. Free participation in the amazing feeling that you know how to turn food off your plate into food for the microbes into food for the plants into food on your plate. Wow. Making the circle go round. And round. To compost is to have your own personal perpetual motion machine. Who says life can't be divine?  

January 2, 2013

The Reluctant Composter

WHEN my oldest son returned from a first-grade field trip last year insisting that our family start composting, my heart did not exactly soar. After six years of changing diapers, I wasn’t looking to take on additional waste-management responsibilities. I switched the subject, and our melon rinds and abandoned cheese sticks continued their steady march into the trash.

Then my middle son started kindergarten. On the second day, he, too, arrived home to proclaim the need to compost, explaining that it was good for the earth.

“The bugs eat the compost,” he noted, “then they poop it out and it makes better soil.”

This got me thinking about how much of the school curriculum is devoted to composting, and whether it was a ruse for legitimizing bathroom talk. But it also focused my attention on the obscene amount of barely touched food my family sends to landfills.

When your children repeatedly beg you to compost, your options are limited. After all, “No, because Mommy and Daddy don’t care about preserving the Earth for you, your children and your children’s children,” is not the message most parents are trying to send.

The time to compost had come.

Read more... )


(The NYT article has photos of each composting system described)

Worms rock!

Jan. 1st, 2013 11:12 pm
good_to_grow: micro-soil (soil microphotograh)
Worms were said to be Darwin’s favorite organism, and for good reason: it seems they can break down most anything. Studies have shown they can detoxify soil with cadmium, lead and other heavy metals.

Worms Produce Another Kind of Gold for Farmers
New research suggests that vermicompost, a worm-created soil additive, helps plants grow with more vigor, and makes them more resistant to disease and insects, than those grown with other types of composts and fertilizers. ...
good_to_grow: holding-dirt (Default)
Whatever lofty things you might accomplish today, you will do them only because you first ate something that grew out of dirt.

- Barbara Kingsolver
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