Tag: Barbara Kingsolver

The ‘food’ we eat!

Food miles: Another tragic aspect of modern life.

Last week I had to travel from Merlin in Southern Oregon up to Portland, a round-trip distance of 480 miles.  The vast majority of the journey was along Highway I5, most of which is a 2-lane highway, significantly harder driving than a 3 or more laned highway.

It was the first time I had driven North along I5 since Jean and I moved to Merlin last October.  What staggered me were the huge number of trucks on the highway, many of them food trucks from California and beyond.  Also noticed at regular intervals were very large industrial buildings that were described as food distribution centres.

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Another connection to today’s reflections is that I am about 50 pages into Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.  The book is the account of Barbara’s family spending a year deliberately eating home-grown and local food. The book’s subtitle is ‘A Year of Food Life‘ and, inevitably, the book has a website here.

So the book and the journey to Portland got me thinking about food miles and the huge transport distances of so much of what we eat today.

Jean and I were incredibly lucky when we bought this property last year to discover that it had a mature vegetable garden surrounded by a deer-proof fence, as the following photograph partially shows.

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So even before considering the food miles we are saving from ‘grow-your-own’, we were enthusiastically planting a whole variety of vegetables.  Here’s a rhubarb plant that went in last Saturday.

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Anyway, I’m rather meandering along – anyone still awake!

The whole point of this long introduction is to highlight a fabulous film that we have watched over the weekend.  Called Edible City: Grow The Revolution we came across it on Top Documentary Films, great source of films by the way if you don’t know it.

Luckily it is on YouTube as well.

Here’s the full film:

It’s an inspiring account of what it means for a community to take control of their food, ergo a strong recommendation to watch it in full.

If you want a taste of the film (pardon the pun!), here are two trailers.

and

plus much more information from the film’s website.

So why don’t you join the millions of people already buying from their local Farmers’ Market.  For the USA you can find your nearest market using this website and for the United Kingdom try the Local Foods website.

Not only will it give you access to much healthier food, it is a very practical way of reducing our use of energy.

A letter to Dan.

But first Happy Valentine’s Day to you and Cynthia.

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(Image courtesy of UK’s Met Office blog post: Top ten romantic weather phenomena.)

My dear Dan,

In a way this stunningly beautiful photograph is a reflection of our long relationship.  Over the 33 years that we have been friends you and I have enjoyed many calm moments and tried to make sense of this crazy world.  Yes, we have often disagreed about many things but never fallen out; not even come close to it.  No better illustrated than me wanting you as my Best Man when Jean and I were married November 20th, 2010.

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Payson, Arizona, November 20th 2010
Bridesmaid Dianne and Best Man Dan with the happy couple!

Your email to me of the 4th February was a difficult one to embrace; the Controversy Continues one.  The last thing I wanted to do was to react impulsively because I knew you would disregard such a thoughtless response.  After all, we have known each other’s views on the matter of climate change for a very long time.

Thank goodness I did sit on my hands. It allowed a more reflective part of my aged brain to compose a blog post on Learning from Dogs.  The post that came out on the 12th under the title of Doggedly seeking the truth.

That post then led to yesterday’s post Truth never follows a straight line.  Two essays that gave me much joy.  Thank you.

But the plain fact of the matter is that I profoundly disagree with the idea, as expressed in your email heading, that there is any controversy over the question of global warming resulting from man’s behaviours.  I know from our years of friendship that you are open to all sorts of ideas. Meaning you wouldn’t be closed-minded to the biggest issue facing Homo sapiens and all the species on this planet, the one of anthropogenic global warming (AGW).

So let me offer you some links that make it very clear as to the reality of what is happening to this planet.

Start with this one Why Climate Deniers Have No Scientific Credibility – In One Pie Chart. Or this one IPCC Draft Report Leaked, Shows Global Warming is NOT Due to the Sun.

Then there’s this one A Brief Note on the Latest Release of Draft IPCC Documents and this one Global Extinction within one Human Lifetime as a Result of a Spreading Atmospheric Arctic Methane Heat wave and Surface Firestorm.  I could go on and on.

Perhaps the reason that so many intelligent people ‘avoid’ the truth of what we are doing to this planet was voiced in a recent comment by Prof. Guy McPherson on Learning from Dogs, “Perhaps Upton Sinclair had it right, years ago: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.

Even though you and I are well past salary days it doesn’t alter the chilling realisation that comes from embracing the truth of climate change and global warming: The undermining of just about everything that we have embraced over our years.  No wonder it’s so much easier to stay within familiar comfort zones!  To remain hypocrites as Jean and I do!

Let me close with the words uttered by mother Dellarobia to son Preston in Barbara Kingsolver’s book Flight Behavior: “It won’t ever go back to how it was, Preston.

In my heart I know that to be the truth.

Jean and I send you and Cynthia our fondest love,

Paul