Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Deeper than grain

The philosophy of the local grain initiative goes much deeper than simply encouraging the small scale growing and production of grain. By using a grain experiment like this as an example in 'reclaiming', it's hope is to address issues of regional food security which are inseperably linked to issues of ecological balance, bioregional self-sufficency, and re-defining our 'use value' notions of resources. The local grain initiative is for healthy ecosystems. It encourages the recognition of the past power of geological systems and the processes of the mighty Fraser River at work in this unique watershed- which we share with many other species of life. Cookie-cutter houses built over farmland with soil 20 meters thick in places! Are we really offering this irreplacable land up as a sacrifice to sub-urban sprawl? At least keep common farmland for each housing community- the natural world demands it. We need to respect the limitations that watersheds and airsheds pose to urban planning and suburban sprawling.

In the city... Grow an organic garden on part of that manicured lawn. Plant trees that offer their fruit to children walking by on the sidewalk. Learn to save seeds and trade them with your neighbors. Hold weekly food swap meets on the street where people can exchange cukes for radishes if they please. Lets celebrate the social power of food. The social component of food is stolen by the homogenization and uniformity of 'super' markets- take it back. The trucks that feast on oil will soon sit idle and with that will come the gradual loss of fresh food. Lets start making preparations....

1)Begin to understand that humans are do not have free reign to destroy or deplete the habitat and homes of animals and plants to gratify their selfish desires.

2) Understand that paying more for organic food is only a short term monetary sacrifice and casts your vote for healthy farming practices. Better yet, save some money where you can and learn to grow your own.

3) Accept that farming practices impact heavily on the surrounding ecology. Farms are not 'sealed off' from forests and rivers- they are a component of a complex and living system that requires respect and balance. Bugs and birds are part of farming ecology. It ought not be a pesticide war against them with the collateral damage forceably accepted by the surrounding life.

4) Understand that each area on the planet is unique in its own way. Geography, geology and hydrology are like fingerprints- they mold and form land into a distinct place. We have simply come to inhabit each place. Try to live with this in mind.

5) Never underestimate what you can do to offer alternatives to others. I knew nothing about growing wheat nor if it was even possible in this region. Now I have the potential to bake a loaf of bread from my garden. If even one person gives this a try, the education component of my experiment has succeded.

I'll get back to the bread now I promise.


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