And finally, friends, we come to the last excerpt I'm taking from Barbara Kingsolver's 2007 book, "Animal Vegetable Miracle," in which she places her family's efforts for the year within the context of global survival. Though her views grew from different roots than mine, I also came to my food advocacy from sustainability. I just didn't realize that my interest in sustainability and my interest in legitimizing food addiction came from spurs on the same line.
Another concluding excerpt from my reading of "Animal Vegetable Miracle," Barbara Kingsolver's 2007 book in which she and her family became locavores for a year.
The biggest shock of our year came when we added up the tab. We'd fed ourselves, organically and pretty splendidly we thought, on about 50 cents per family member per meal — probably less that I spent in the years when I qualified for food stamps. ... Our main off-farm purchases for the year were organic grain for animal feed, and the 300 pounds of flour required for our daily bread. To put this in perspective, a good wheat field yields about 1,600 pounds of flour per acre. In total, for our grain and flour, pastured meats and goods from the farmer's market, and our own produce, our family's food footprint for the year was probably about one acre.<br/>By contrast, current nutritional consumption in the U.S. requires an average of 1.2 culitvated acres for every citizen — 4.8 acres for a family of four. (Among other things, it takes space to grow corn syrup for that hypothetiical family's 219 gallonghs of soda.) These estimates become more meaningful when placed next to another proediction: in 2050, the amount of U.S. farmland available per citizen will be on 0.6 acres. By the numbers, the hypothetical family has change in the cards. [Page 343]
The first comment I could add is that the value of her family's labor was left out of the calculation! But I can relate: I often rave about my cooperative community garden and one of the first measures I use is how much produce we get for the $75 entry fee. We surely get more than $75 worth, but then again, we are in the garden at least twice a week, and we have website and educational commitments as well.
Sure we pay only $75 out of pocket, but we pay in additional ways as well. For the record, the recompense I get from this involvement also goes way beyond the food: knowledge, shared by my fellow gardeners who know what they're doing; the community of those who come to garden; the community of the public park and of the town where the garden is located; the legacy for my son, now 2, to learn that food comes from the ground, not from cellophane wrap.
As a freelance writer, I'm a washout, because most of the time, I'm writing only on topics I'm interested in, rather than what pays well. Regardless, please check out my latest story in the Boston Globe, on the subject of locavores.
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) is seeking a grassroots advocacy director to work with staff and member organizations to help galvanize support for and advance 2012 farm-bill and other federal policy priorities.
The coalition is alliance of over 80 grassroots organizations that advocates for federal policy reform to advance the sustainability of agriculture, food systems, natural resources, and rural communities.
Welcome to another round of “10 Words or Less.” Today’s contestant is the original thinker behind Rad Urban Farmers, about whom I wrote for The Boston Globe a couple of years ago. His gig is to farm on underutilized suburban yards and disperse the produce he grows to the landowners and to CSA and farmers’ market customers. His goal, after each garden is established, is to service them via only a bike and trailer. As you may recall, the idea here is to ask short questions, request short answers, and do a minimum of editing, but the “10WOL” thing is a goal, not a rule, so please, no counting.
Name Charlie Radoslovich (ra-DOS-lo-vich)
Residence Arlington, Mass.
Passions “The environment and good food.”
A guilty pleasure “Eating vegetables before they’re fully mature.”
What did you want to be when you grew up? “A lawyer, believe it or not.”
What happened? “That was 3d grade.”
Welcome to the latest round of “10 words or less,” in which I ask brief questions and ask for brief answers. This installment is part of a group of interviews in advance of the Boston Museum of Science’s “Let’s Talk About Food” festival this weekend. Today’s subject is one of New England’s foremost farmers, who’ll join chefs Frank McClelland of L’Espalier, Franco Carubia of Sel de la Terre, and others in a discussion and demonstration about farm-fresh ingredients. Remember, please: No counting. 10 words is a goal, not a rule, and it’s not that easy!
Name Jim Wilson (above left, during a tour of his farm)
Business Wilson Farm, which grows and sells produce — and lots of other goods — in Lexington, Mass., and Litchfield, N.H.
I've been pimping for the Museum of Science's "Let's Talk About Food" festival because I think it's going to be terrific: It's at a great spot on the Charles, with tons of exhibitors, dollops of foodie celebrity, meaningful discussion on issues that matter to everyone, and even a brilliantly conceived "food-truck food court." Oh, and it's free.
In the latest round of “10 Words or Less,” the participant is one of the panelists May 26 for “Food and Sustainability,” a continuation of the two-year “Let’s Talk About Food” series being conducted by Boston’s Museum of Science. Carroll is the author of several books, including “Pastures of Plenty” and “The Real Dirt.” Remember: Please, no counting; the 10-word thing is a goal, not a rule, and besides, let’s see you do it.
Name: John E. Carroll
Residence: Durham, N.H.
Occupation: Professor of environmental conservation, University of New Hampshire
Passion: “Watching the growth of the new local food and farming movement.”
Some people oppose any public suasion of any kinds on food choices — and even some of those do so honorably, instead of being motivated merely by their paycheck. I suspect they would object to the above.
But here's the thing, even putting aside the question of whether sugary soda is even food, or, in the coinage of Michael Pollan, a "foodlike substance." If any currently "acceptable" food or drink product warrants this sort of treatment, it is sugary soda.