Sunday, October 19, 2008

hectic autumn

I seem to have missed World Food Day and World Poverty Day, not to mention Indigenous Peoples' Day and the advent of COOL, so on a curiously free Sunday - except for garden chores at home and at the community garden and the last AL game of the year - I am going to do some catching up.

It's not that I haven't been thinking and talking about food issues. Our local food systems working group resumed meeting for the fall on Wednesday. My goal for working with this group is to push for a thorough baseline survey of our county food system. If we know where we are starting from, we will know where the leverage points are to improve - access, sustainability, localness and worker justice. I drafted a paper for the group which others will now add to, to make our case.

At dinner on Friday I chatted with folks from St. Stephen's in Colusa where there is interest in a community garden. Chatted may be the wrong word - I really dropped the whole load. Someone pushed the right button and I cranked up the enthusiasm - the evangelist of community gardens c'est moi.

I think our gardens are going to be needed even more with so many people's income and wealth declining while food prices rise. I don't know what kind of saving home or community gardening growing represents in the food budget, but I know the quality is better, and time spent in the garden is time spent in wholesome activity that doesn't cost a penny. As people cut back on shopping for recreation and expensive vacations, why not spend time in the garden? And you don't need a special outfit for it like you do, it seems, for every sport these days; you can wear your oldest clothes. Gardeners become re-users and producers, not so much consumers - which addresses one of the sacred cows of our U.S. economy that got us into this mess in the first place: consumerism.

Also on the food front, I was happy to be able to take tomatoes and baby green beans and squash from my plot for a raw veg platter at the Total Ministry Gathering reception. I also made homemade roasted tomato salsa to go with chips - which turned our really well for a first time improv. There is something about the companionship in good food that makes a meeting better. Most of the food at our gathering was prepared by members of the Redwood Cluster who were also participants in our conference, so that earth, food, friends in Christ were all connected. Whatever the topic of a meeting, such efforts make a difference. When the topic is servant leadership as a note of Total Ministry, it makes all the difference.

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