Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Foodastrophic Anxiety

It is with increasing alarm that the mainstream media is awakening to the growing insecurity of our food supply. Items on exploding commodity prices, destabilizing food riots, and the tension between food and energy have been appearing in the news lately with increasing frequency. Just today the New York Times featured two illustrative items. The first dealt with the increasing scarcity of chemical fertilizer (read at fertilizer) and the other focused on the loss of American food culture (read at culture).

Since I recently found my anxiety level rising every time I read another foodastrophe article, I resolved to fight it the best way I know how: make a list. What could I do to further distance my family and myself from the run-away freight train that is industrial food production? Here is what I came up with:

Grow my own and save seeds: The first is obvious, but saving seeds and sharing them is an act of hope. Managing your seeds will be a bump up in the ladder of food independence of course, but it will also teach you some valuable lessons that you may take for granted if you just order your seeds every year. And sharing the seeds… well, what gift holds more promise? Start at BASIL, the Bay Area Seed Interchange Library, part of Berkeley’s Ecology Center http://www.ecologycenter.org/basil/

Oh, and if you are not growing you own yet, or like me your are taking a respite, maybe you need a few words of inspiration. I recommend Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life.

Raise chickens: The lessons of husbandry, fresh eggs, and good manure all wrapped into a fun feathered package. Get started with BackyardChicken.com http://www.backyardchickens.com/raising-chickens-basics.php

Volunteer and help plant a school garden: Like sharing seeds but exponentially. Nothing will help you feel more like you are at the helm again than passing on your experience. Speak with genuine passion about the importance of knowing our food and you will practically see children’s heads sprouting a crop of their own. Start here – Get connected through Urban Sprouts http://urbansprouts.blogspot.com/ or the Edible Schoolyard’s Link page, http://www.edibleschoolyard.org/how_res.html

Join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm: It always helps to join others in the effort and the most effortless way to do it is to join a farm. Feel free to call yourself a farmer every link in the chain of a CSA is necessary to make it work. Visit the farm on member days and read the newsletter regularly (guaranteed not to add calories to your diet but will result in an expansion of the waistline of your pride). See links on this page.

Become more informed: Well, this one might not reduce your anxiety, but know thine enemy. To double your satisfaction pass it on like a seed. Drop me a line if you read something relevant, have further suggestions for things to do or resources for the ones mentioned above.

1 comment:

Oliver said...

Wahoo! Its good to see you back at it Francisco; I always look forward to your posts.

With juicy produce season upon us it is a great time to spread the word about local foods!