"Well-behaved women seldom make history."
~ Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
~ Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
My brain is buzzing with about a thousand thoughts this morning. I'm often one to embellish, but today that figure actually seems like an underestimate. Last night I attended a lecture on the future of food and farms and while I was hoping to be inspired, turns out I was outraged.
While some of the information presented was interesting, too much of the nitty-gritty was platitudes, generalizations and even deflections, especially when the speakers were asked to address burning issues such as GMOs, international trade agreements, barriers to entry for the next generation of farmers (it costs a new farmer $1 million to buy a dairy quota, which simply gives him or her the authorization to sell milk -- you still need to buy the land, the cows, the equipment and so on!) and national policies (or the lack thereof) regarding farm succession, land access and the growing, processing and selling of food produced on small farms.
Outrage is a valid response, but hysterical over-reaction is not. That's where education comes in. Since moving to the farm, I've maintained that our lifestyle isn't for everyone: no one can or should be moving to the country to become more self-sufficient. But I think we're all responsible for educating ourselves about just how broken our industrial food system is -- then demanding that policy makers do something different. While I understand that not everyone cares as much as about small farms as I do, we should all care about our food and by extension, where it comes from.
I've always felt compelled to 'make a difference' and since the birth of my children, most of my energy has been directed fulfilling this purpose through them; simply by raising them in a loving and secure home that tries to tread lightly on this earth and maintain a reverence, respect and appreciation for the natural systems that sustain us. I still stand by that belief and it is the force that grounds and inspires me to do better, be better, for they are the ones who will inherit our planetary mistakes, as well as our triumphs.
But I also have a voice -- one that can perhaps incite or inspire change beyond the borders of our farm. Perhaps it's time to start using it.*
* I don't know if these are thoughts I will share on this blog or perhaps I'll start another one for my rants and revelations. I just had to get this one off my chest. Stay tuned...