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Food – are we facing a Crisis or an Opportunity?

This post shares four things. The one that takes up the most space is about those two little words “food crisis” that are starting to make headlines. There’s a reason they’re making headlines, and it might not be the reason you think. 

The other items in this post are two tips for ethical buying/browsing choices, and a little piece of wisdom about the language we use. 

 

Ethical internet searching

Ecosia.org is an internet search engine (like Google) that plants trees (unlike Google).

Planting
Image by Rommel Diaz from Pixabay

They do a lot of other things unlike Google, too. In their words:

We dedicate all our profits to the regeneration of the planet. We even signed a legal contract binding us to our not-for-profit purpose forever. Ecosia can’t be sold … and we can’t take money out of the company.”

Also in their words:

“… if everyone switched from Google to Ecosia, we could plant 300 billion trees — every year.”

Google offers so many free tools in addition to its search engine that it’s hard to go past them for sheer convenience. That’s one of the reasons they’re so influential and powerful.

What might a company like Ecosia achieve in the next 10, the next 20, 30 years… if enough people supported them to enable them to start offering other services the same way Google did?

You can read their manifesto here.

Ethical undies

Do you wear socks or undies? Me too. And the other day I finally found a socks ‘n’ jocks company that I feel good about buying from. I was so excited, my kids rolled their eyes. What’s Mum on about now.

socks
Image by jerabkovamartina from Pixabay

Underworks says they’re replacing cotton in their fabrics (a very unsustainable, water hungry crop that’s usually grown using a lot of chemical fertilizers) with bamboo (much less demanding and doesn’t have to be ploughed up and replanted every year = healthier soil and more carbon sequestration).

They’re also using recycled materials in their fabrics, and the part I like best is that they’re encouraging customers to return used underwear to be recycled into new undies.

They also gift underwear to those who need it. I wrote this to them on their contact form:

I’m impressed and encouraged after browsing around your website. I hope you’re telling the truth and if you are, I wish you every success. I will be buying underwear for my family direct from your website in future. Please keep up the good work.”

They haven’t responded. I hope that’s because they’re too busy upholding all their sustainability and circular economy promises. And I can personally vouch for their socks.

 

FOOD – CRISIS OR OPPORTUNITY?

Another, even more basic need we all share is food.

Eggs and Salad
Image by Author

If you try Ecosia-ing (as opposed to googling) a phrase like “food crisis 2022,” you will find plenty to read about. I don’t recommend doing it though, and here’s why:

The more you read about “food crises” (or any other crisis), the more worried and anxious you’ll get. (Trust me on this one: I speak from experience).

Here’s a reason why “food crisis” is making headlines

The thing about being chronically anxious, besides that it just isn’t good for you, is that it makes you much more willing to consider things you otherwise wouldn’t.

Like what? Well, for example, allowing the companies that already control far too much of the world’s seed supply to do even more damage to biodiversity than they already have. Or allowing even more use of chemical, industrial farming techniques until the whole industrial food system topples.

When that happens, the would-be Saviours will step in front of our faces and say, “So now we need to move all food production into labs where we can control it all, so we will no longer have to deal with the vagaries of Nature.” And at that point the more worried and anxious people are, the more likely it is that we’ll step aside and let them do it.

This is why “food crisis” is making headlines: it’s because the corporations that stand to profit from lab grown food are the same ones that control most of the media you see. 

They want us to be worried and anxious about a food crisis. It makes us more open to suggestions we otherwise would reject without needing to think about them too much.

Meat from a Petri dish, anyone?

 

Food sovereignty, in small steps

Are you now thinking, “How do we stop them?”

My answer would be: we don’t. We sidestep them by developing food sovereignty.

And I know – you’re right. Developing food sovereignty is a big task. But it can be broken down.

Consider where you’re at with food sovereignty. If you’re not even sure you know what the term means and you currently rely entirely on the supermarket for all your food, that’s your starting point.

Start where you are, with only one criteria: KEEP IT SMALL. When we want to make changes that stick, bigger and faster is definitely not better.

Herbs
Photo by dydydada from FreeImage

A pot of herbs or salad greens in a sunny spot on the balcony would make a fine start.

If you add one more pot (or one more square meter of garden if you’re growing in the ground), at manageable intervals, you’ll move toward food sovereignty in a more steadfast fashion than if you start too big, get discouraged, and give up.

And don’t forget neighbours and friends and their unused potential food growing spaces, and community gardens.

I know you’re busy. Me too. How do you find the time to grow your own food? Your answer will be unique to your circumstances, but keep in mind that as food and fuel prices continue to rise (and they will) it makes less and less sense to drive to the supermarket frequently.

Ok. I better stop on this food topic, ‘cause its getting longer than I thought it would.

Bee
Image by Laura Kuhn from Pixabay

 

Listening to voices wilder and wiser

The last thing I want to share today is this lovely quote from one of my favourite writers, Laura Grace Weldon.

“We cannot bring about a more regenerative and compassionate future using the same language that got us here– the kind churned out by advertisers, pundits, and politicians.

Poetry calls us to make big world-restoring decisions by listening to voices wilder and wiser than our own. What does sea ice say? How about honeybees, gray whales, storm clouds, bonobos, leatherback turtles? What do our ancestors, leading all the way back to the First Mother, have to tell us? What do the smallest children want us to know? The oldest people?

Poetry doesn’t offer answers, it simply helps to tune our capacity to see, hear, and be. That’s a start.

Laura Grace Weldon, “Finding Solace in Poetry”

 

 

Please leave a comment…

Are you feeling anxious about food prices… fuel prices… other things… maybe even ALL the things?

Or are you feeling hopeful when you look around and see companies springing up that are doing the right thing, or when you look in the garden and find fresh greens for dinner?

Or maybe you feel anxious sometimes, and hopeful at other times? ( (That’s me…)

Please share your thoughts below.

 

Byline

Kate writes at ARealGreenLife about building personal sovereignty, reconnecting, and learning practical skills for a more beautiful world. Check out her Blog posts, Freebies, and Workshops.

Kate Martignier

Kate writes at ARealGreenLife.com – an exploration into thinking differently and living a more natural, connected, and sustainable life.

4 Comments

  1. It is interesting that the Underworks company are doing “their thing” to help the planet, however their credibility wains when one sees that their products are manufactured in China which adds air miles to their best endeavors.

    1. hi Rob, thanks for commenting.

      I hear you. A few years ago I bought a picnic mat made from 100% post consumer recycled plastic. The mat was made in China. The design on it was by an Aboriginal artist who had been fairly paid and credited for their work. The company sold recycled plastic mats with many other designs too, by indigenous artists from around the world.

      I questioned them about their choice to manufacture in China. They explained that if they did not, they simply could not be viable as a business. I chose to buy their product because I felt that they were trying to do the right thing and I understood that if they could not be viable, there would be one less company out there trying to stay afloat while swimming against the current.

      I had a similar experience more recently when I bought my daughter swimwear made from recycled plastic bottles.

      I don’t know what it would take for businesses like these to manufacture viably in their own countries, but I have seen this story often enough now to be willing to support them in their efforts to find their way toward an increasingly ethical business model. We have to start somewhere.

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