Archive | February, 2008

Eating Our Bombs

20 Feb

Bread bombs pinWhen I was growing up I had a fairly substantial button collection. Many spent the long arc of their life in a box, collector’s items only. However, there were a few that I wore constantly – lapel declarations – pinned to jackets or backpacks. They changed over time, charting out my moral development in pin pricks and political slogans, but there was one that I still have today. It was a small white button with roses on it that read “Bread not Bombs.” It was aged and must have been passed down from my parents. The simple juxtaposition of bread and bombs seemed to epitomize my idea of justice back then. Bread or bombs. Creation or destruction. Life or death.

While my understanding of justice has deepened and grown much more complicated since then, I still find something profoundly moving in that simple statement. Recently a number of things have reminded me of that pin. Each of these reminders has reasserted the simple, yet powerful choice that button suggested, while also serving to complicate my ideas about both bread and bombs. Continue reading

Kids at the farm

10 Feb

I wrote this a few months ago and somehow never posted it. Now it’s cold and snowy and blustery and I’m comforted by this reminder of those warm fall days at the farm. Something to get us through this long winter.  What I would do for one of those warm, sun-ripened tomatoes right now!

In recent trips to the farm I have been delighted as I have overheard little kids out in the field – sometimes with their siblings, sometimes with their parents. Always amusing in their observations. They take nothing for granted and I love getting a glimpse of the farm through their eyes. To them it must seem enchanting and I can only hope that when we have children we will be able to provide them with the opportunity to come to a place like Brookfield Farm. The kids clearly are learning so much from the experience. Up until that summer when I was seven and my family planted its first vegetable garden, I thought most vegetables came from a box in the freezer. Peas and greenbeans shared the same sort of anonymity – food without a history or place of origin other than the grocery store. The kids I see at the farm have such a more intimate relationship with their food and where it comes from. Last week as we were out picking tomatoes I heard a little boy’s sing-songy voice: Eda-MA-me, ED-a-ma-me, Eda-ma-ME. I don’t think I knew what edamame was until I was 25 at least. Another moment that put a smile on my face came yesterday when Josh and I were picking cherry tomatoes. From the next row over I heard a tiny little voice repeating over and over again: “Red, Red, Ripe” – clearly trying to remember instructions mom or dad gave them about not picking the under-ripe green tomatoes.

Wherever

7 Feb

I stumbled upon this poem the other day and really appreciated it. While it is not explicitly about food, it touches on some of the themes that reoccur on this blog: planting, making, protest, etc… In part, it was that it reminded me of the title of a book by the democratic/radical educators Myles Horton and Paulo Freire: We Make The Road By Walking. But there was more than that. The lack of punctuation leaves every line open, full or potential and possibility. The way that so many lines end in verbs seems to fill the poem with movement and action. The fact that each person who reads it could imagine something different coming after the line “we will make,” as though they are speaking the poem themselves. It just seemed like a good reminder that every day we are moving, building, planting and making change possible. Continue reading

Farming in Vegas

6 Feb

From VerticalFarm.comIn recent posts I have been writing a good deal about the intersection of farming and urban landscapes. However, nothing I had imagined up to this point prepared me for the news that surfaced earlier this month that Las Vegas was planning to build an agricultural high-rise. Billed as a groundbreaking new era in urban sustainability, the thirty-story “vertical farm” is estimated to cost $200 million, and will supposedly feed more than 70,000 people a year. One has to ask, is this a bold experiment in local food or simply a new version of industrial agriculture?

One thing is clear, the plan for the vertical farm is not intended to meet the needs of local people in Las Vegas. This is no community supported super-farm. It is however, another kind of CSA: casino supported agriculture. The primary funders of the veggie-tower are Las Vegas casinos who have already laid claim to the majority of the produce which would be grown there. Continue reading