Just Eating? – Food and the Environment
Our Just Eating? workshop at church is winding down. We have two more weeks to go. Last week’s theme was “Food & the Environment” and I have to say it was hard for me to “go there.” I used to work for Greenpeace back in my early 20s, I belong to the Sierra Club, and give to a variety of environmental groups. I used to be a hardcore recycler (not so much as there is no recycling in the fabulous city of Huntington). I believe in reduce, reuse, recycle. I used to buy most of my clothes at thrift stores and consignment shops. I admit to being up and down in my “eco-consciousness” over the past 20 years but it’s always something I think about, even if I don’t always choose the most green choice.
So why was last week so hard for me. Where was the resistance coming from? I think its two-pronged. First, since we moved I have not been the most eco-conscious. In setting up our household I took the easy way out and bought cheap furniture from big box stores, I’ve bought more clothes at the mall than at the thrift stores and consignment shops for the first time in my life, I don’t recycle (except for paper). I feel like the Huntington culture has sucked all of my greenness out of me. Blah.
Second, looking at the problems on a large scale just freaks my out and makes me shut down. I just see problems and problems and problems and don’t feel like little ol’ me can fix any of them.
Talking through the second issue at our meeting I realized I need to chill. I can’t fix the world. I CAN make better choices, I CAN buy/grow organic produce – which means one more family off the corporate food bandwagon. As part of a community garden I CAN even help feed my greater community.
This is where things get cool. Our little Just Eating? group is figuring out ways to grow and share organic produce. We discussed going in together to buy a cow/pig/sheep/goat from a local organic farm. We could get organic milk/cheese/meat that would be distributed to the members of our congregation.
We also have discussed using an empty lot to create an organic community garden that would provide food for the congregation, with a share going to a non-profit – the mission, a food pantry, or a shelter that houses women who are escaping domestic violence.
And we’ve talked about all the gardeners/wannabe gardeners getting together to pool our resources and share our bounty with our congregation. We can do this so simply – just by designating a space where we can bring in our surplus produce (because you know there’s always something that just produces like crazy) and allowing anyone from the congregation to pick up what they need.
I can’t fix the world, but I can figure out ways to make healthy, organic produce available for the people I love and my local community. And that’s what I’m going to do.
A healthier me, a healthier community, a healthier planet. Yeah, that sounds good.