Wow, I have a lot of catching up to do! I have been experiencing internet service issues and it has made it frustrating trying to check e-mail let alone post blog entries! I have a lot of blog posts rolling around in my head, but for now I would like to share an article in the Local Harvest Newsletter that I receive. It is a refreshing and optimistic approach to our ever changing economy –
Welcome back to the LocalHarvest newsletter. What a month! Things are different. You feel it too, right? With gas prices soaring, Iowa flooding, salmonella striking tomatoes, and a global food crisis threatening, it seems to us that America is finally, slowly waking up. The world is not what it seemed to be. Change feels inevitable in ways it didn’t even a few months ago. The question now is not so much whether the collective we is going to change, but how – with what frame of mind. As we alter our consumption patterns, food and otherwise, we must be aware of how we approach change. We can be anxious or relaxed, defensive or curious, fearful or joyful. The differences are vast and vital.
Many of us live lives that are overly determined by convenience. Day to day decisions are made as if expediency and ease were our highest values. So habituated are we to these conveniences, so dependent on our luxuries (chocolate, coffee, bananas), that the idea of going without them actually makes us feel afraid. But fear – of scarcity, of change – is a terrible master. It makes us forget our own creativity and adaptability. We mistake the way it is for the way it has to be.
In that mindset, there is no way to discover something that might be better. Last month LocalHarvest was featured on a radio program out of Sacramento. The host started with the usual questions about how to define ‘local’ and how the website works. Once the conversation turned to actually buying local food, though, it became personal and he was stumped. Northern California offers astounding agricultural abundance, but this fellow could not see his way to buying this extraordinary produce directly from a farmer. He was used to shopping at, and the idea of deviating from the safe way (ironic, isn’t it?) made him tense. Shopping at a farmers market requires too much trust, he said, plus it’s an extra trip and the veggies would sit in the frig drawer and rot anyway. Hmmm…
That interview stands out as an example of the kind of thinking we as a nation need to leave behind. If we greet every new idea with excuses that aim to defend our old ways, we will be lost. The future belongs to those who can walk lightly, willing to shift as needed, alert for the next ingenuity. If we let ourselves be afraid of this rapidly changing economy, it would be easy to lose site of the great beauty and new opportunities that surround us. If we keep ourselves relaxed and open, we will find ourselves reveling in the great gifts of this life: the beauty of nature, the comforting joy of friendship, the spark of creativity, and the civility of true community. And then we will be fearless.