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Ch. 2 - The Year of Eating Locally

#36: April - June 2007 (Non-Fiction)
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Chris OConnor

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Ch. 2 - The Year of Eating Locally

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Ch. 2 - The Year of Eating LocallyThis thread is for discussing Chapter 2: The Year of Eating Locally of Deep Economy. Post here, within this chapter thread, or create your own threads. The choice is yours. Edited by: Chris OConnor  at: 4/7/07 12:52 am
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Re: Ch. 2 - The Year of Eating Locally

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I'll start the Chapter 2 discussion. Am I the first person to get that far? This chapter does provide less to talk about.The detail descriptions of the Vermont farmer got monotonous, though I know a little about the area because my wife grew up in Vermont and her family is still out there.A good companion to this chapter is Eric's Schlosser's excellent book Fast Food Nation.www.amazon.com/Fast-Food-...0060938455Schlosser presents a scary picture of agribusiness, though compared to McKibben he focuses more on health & working conditions and less on ecology & economics.McKibben clearly points out the benefits of small local farms. In that light, maybe I should visit the farmer's market more frequently. He makes a good case of how cheap oil and government subsidies assist massive agribusiness.Also, I appreciate his honesty in pointing out the advantages of the current system: cheap food and convenience. Some environmentalists have a less balanced perspective. Edited by: JulianTheApostate at: 4/22/07 7:22 pm
RaulRamos

Re: The Year of Eating Locally

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I found this chapter was more difficult to
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Re: The Year of Eating Locally

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I'm wrapped up right now in living this...working on a lot of things to get our local Farmers' Market going on May 5th. Interesting how more and more, 'eating locally' is becoming the new mantra. Last year when I was interviewed for the opening of the season for the newspaper, the article was all about the community event aspect of the Market. This year, after we had a Food Security Forum in November, Vancouver's 100 Mile Diet people have just released their book on living locally for a year...the opening article in the paper was about eating & buying locally, the political aspects of the Market.Part of it was the change in me, but it is also the changes in the media's attitudes.I'm a little worried that this next chapter will be a bit dull for me, 'preaching to the converted'... ah, well. I'll read it today! "All beings are the owners of their deeds, the heirs to their deeds." Loricat's Book NookCelebrating the Absurd
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Loricat:I have a question for you. I've read about your participation with your own farmers' market and I'm wondering if there is some protocol among farmers' markets. I have a great market (the Reading Terminal in Philadelphia) literally two blocks from my office. It's a full city block market with various local eateries/fish mongers/butchers/dairies/random sellers/etc. A whole corner is dedicated to the Amish community that brings their product in from nearby Lancaster and surrounding farms. There's a food co-op and CSA with their own corner of the market. But there is this huge commercial produce section, with product coming from all over the world, just like a regular supermarket produce section. This part of the market certainly does not promote local/sustainable agriculture. Is that appropriate? Is there no self-policing among these markets? BTW, I bought the most delicious locally produced honey the other day. It really does taste differently.Loricat: I'm a little worried that this next chapter will be a bit dull for me, 'preaching to the converted'It was, especially after reading The Omnivore's Dilemma. The only thing McKibben really made me consider was cutting out my morning cereal (Kashi) that I still buy. He gets into the cost of packaging a bit more than Pollan, which made me feel guilty about continuing to buy my cereal. I've cut out almost all industrial food, except my Kashi--it's just the perfect way to start the morning. Do I sound like a commercial? With all the other changes I've been working on since reading The Omnivore's Dilemma, I'm not sure how obligated I feel about cutting out this one product. But I do buy a lot of it. And, according to McKibben, the packaging of a box of cereal is where a lot of the cost to the environment comes. I have learned, and McKibben also references this, that learning to buy locally is more of a gradual process than an all-at-once change. I took one big leap, at first, but now I'm progressing with baby steps.
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Re: Ch. 2 - The Year of Eating Locally

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Quote:The deepest problem that local-food efforts face, however, is that we've gotten used to paying so little for food. It may be expensive in terms of how much oil it requires, and how much greenhouse gas pours into the atmosphere, and how much tax subsidy it receives, and how much damage it does to local communities, and how many migrant workers it maims, and how much sewage piles up, and how many highway miles it requires- but boy, when you pull your cart up to the register, it's pretty cheap. 89I think McKibben packs a lot of punch in this small paragraph. The key, as I see it, involves how our economic model determines cost, and what it values as cheap or inexpensive. If the only determining cost factor is what you see at the register, then, our current economic model is very hard to beat. But if you consider the list of concerns McKibben names above, our means of feeding ourselves are profoundly flawed. The selection below is how McKibben defines the cost/value dynamic in his winter experiment of eating locally, and I think it captures the real treasure of this chapter and, truly, the hope of this book: Quote:Eating this way has come at a cost. Not in health or in money (if anything, I've spent less than usual, since I haven't bought a speck of processed food) but in time. I've had to think about every meal, instead of wandering through the world on autopilot, ingesting random calories. I've had to pay attention. But the payoff for that cost has been immense, a web of connections I'de never known about. I've gotten to eat with my brain as well as my tounge: every meal comes with a story. The geogrpahy of the valley now means something more to me; I've met dozens of people I wouldn't otherwise have known...the winter permanently altered the way I eat. In more ways than one, it left a good taste in my mouth. That good taste was satisfaction. The time I spent getting the food and preparing it was not, in the end, a cost at all. In the end it was a benefit, the benefit. In my role as eater, I was part of something larger than myself that made sense to me- a community. I felt grounded, connected." 94Preparing for our daily bread as a necessary means to transform an entire economy: becoming fully intentional participants and informed partners in the process of feeding ourselves is crucial to defining economic value. Deep economic revolution requires a daily practice of considering: what does the bite of bread really cost?McKibben also makes it clear that this is not a solitary endeavor geared around rugged individualism and consumer customization. This kind of deep economy requires constant interaction, collaboration, cooperation, engagement, sharing of information: no one really gains unless everyone shares in the effort and sacrifice...and it takes time and labor. There is no easy way to do this. It is inconvenient. But with the effort comes satisfaction: the genuine pleasure of honest exchange and trusted relationships, linked to physical health and an everincreasing knowledge of the wondrous world around us.I fear we (our Nation) are too deep in the Junkie mode: too addicted to short term gratification and unable to imagine that the minor inconveniences demanded by a deep economy will pay off in satisfaction rarely, if ever, experienced. And, the Pushers who control industry and manipulate policy are not going to simply let go of their control of consumer appetites. McKibben's vision, in my opionion, is beautiful. But is beauty enough?
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Re: Ch. 2 - The Year of Eating Locally

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DH, don't forget how conservative the US is. After all, George Bush won the 2004 election, despite his disastrous right-wing first term.Sure, there are lots of people out there who take environmental issues seriously. Still, it will take a dramatic shift for the country as a whole to accept McKibben's arguments.
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Julian: DH, don't forget how conservative the US isI agree. But I think the very best of American Conservatism is linked to a love and appreciation of the soil and protection of the American farm. I reject the jingoism, patriarchy, militarism, and Christian exclusivism that is expressed by many American conservatives; but I think they are just as disgusted by corporate elites and their tiny segment of the population absconding with the lion's share of wealth. There is a huge portion of American farm culture that is not friendly to the massive agribusiness industries that hold entire villages, cities, counties and agricultural regions hostage. And, there is a vibrant movement of religious environmentalists who practice a Green Faith that involves progressives and evangelicals working together to foster a more responsible stewardship and love of Creation by Christians everywhere. No matter what our solution, it must include conservative Americans...and if that is true, it needs to take seriously their religious belief systems.Julian: Still, it will take a dramatic shift for the country as a whole to accept McKibben's arguments.As Climate Change increases (with all of its attending crises) we can count on dramatic shifts like we have never seen before. I think McKibben's arguments will speak to the vast majority of middle Americans who come from generations who were tied to the land and depended upon far more frugal lifestyles within close-knit, local economies. Again, I think an important part of this conversation will have to include Religious Environmentalism, as it will connect the deepest notions of identity, moral obligation, and spiritual practice to care and love of Creation. Middle America understands this language and is mobilized by its unconditional demands.
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D.H.: No matter what our solution, it must include conservative Americans...and if that is true, it needs to take seriously their religious belief systems.These solutions absolutely do not have to "take seriously" "religious belief systems." They may need to respect the many different belief systems of the American public; but solutions to the destruction of the earth/society/community by industrial agriculture, and/or the economy as whole, certainly do not need to rely on religion or mythology.D.H.: ...a vibrant movement of religious environmentalists who practice a Green Faith that involves progressives and evangelicals working together to foster a more responsible stewardship and love of Creation by Christians everywhereMy understanding of the conservatives Julian mentions have very little, possibly no, resemblance to the people you cherish describing.
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irishrose: but solutions to the destruction of the earth/society/community by industrial agriculture, and/or the economy as whole, certainly do not need to rely on religion or mythology.If you are interested in changing the minds and habits of Middle America, which are far more religious than not, then you may want to consider how religion can help. You don't have to endorse anything religious, but if a substantial portion of the challenge involves those who do endorse some sort of religious life...then it stands to reason that religion will be part of the solution. I'm offering one way to get religion into the solution part of the Climate Crisis equation. It's a way that brings different religious communities across cultural and ideological borders onto common ground with secular folk and scientists. irishrose: My understanding of the conservatives Julian mentions have very little, possibly no, resemblance to the people you cherish describing.I suggest we lift up those voices of conservative America that accept the truth of global warming and climate change and the role of human activity in exacerbating both. I think it's important to highlight those conservative Christians who see a moral obligation to turn back the tide of global warming and climate change because of their religious commitment to love and care for creation. I think the combination of those conservatives who cherish the earth and those who love creation will be a substantial force in starting the substantial shift of the country that Julian refers to.
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