Growing Partners Presents Home Grown: Cultivating Your Role in the Local Food System

Mark WInne

Friday, February 25th marks the start of an eye opening weekend about the role we all play in our local food system. The event is kicked off with keynote Speaker Mark Winne discussing “Food, Freedom, and Authority: Who Controls the Food We Eat”, and everyone who cares about their food or community should be in attendance. This is taking place in Noble Hall room 130 on the Fort Lewis College campus. The following day, Saturday the 26th, will be a full day retreat with workshops and conversations centered on local food and bringing out your inner food advocate. The skills gained through this event are applicable at home, with friends, and in the community.

This event is a huge landmark for the local food crusade for many reasons, one of the main ones being that if we as a people ever hope to control our food resources then we need to start at home, today. This event is dedicated to educating the public on how much power they have and how much of an affect they have in the grand scheme of things; it’s a big one.

Every person plays a huge part in the food system as not just a consumer but as a producer also. Its important that we all realize this and cultivate the inner food advocate inside. Attendance on Friday is encouraged to everyone! To attend the retreat Saturday you must RSVP. For more information contact Stacey Carlson, head of the Local Food team at smcarlson@fortlewis.edu.

Crazy Environmentalists

Melinda Markin, 08-09 EC Intern, making cardboard angels.  EC file photo

Melinda Markin, 08-09 EC Intern, making cardboard angels. EC file photo

People are always trying to find ways around “primitive” environmentalism – primitive as in trying to reduce waste and emissions, planting some vegetables, stop killing everything and overall trying to make the world a better place. They’re the “futurists,” the “creative” ones who really think they have the answer. And they’ve come up with some pretty crazy solutions to global environmental issues. The earth is getting too hot? Hmm, I know, let’s pump sulfur clouds into the sky to reflect the sun’s rays out of the atmosphere! Too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere? Rather than reduce emissions, we can just bury it, or dump iron into the oceans to promote the growth of phytoplankton!

I have a very serious problem with these so called “alternative answers” to environmentalism. Sure, it’ll work in theory, but all we’re doing is fighting fire with fire. Sulfur clouds can reflect the sun’s rays and reduce the greenhouse effect, but have you considered what the large scale effect might be on any organism that uses the atmosphere (such as for breathing)? Or the fact that sulfur is the main component of sulfuric acid, and sulfur clouds might possibly lead to acid rain which damages not only the natural environment but urban areas as well? Maybe it’s not such a good idea to combat problems caused by pollution with more pollution. Burying carbon could have a devastating long term effect on bacteria that live deep under the ground or water and rely on extreme conditions. Many species of bacteria are vital for nutrient recycling – even those that live far away from what most people consider “life.” Underground pockets of carbon could even cause tectonic disturbances, i.e. earthquakes. A boom in phytoplankton growth will throw off the entire oceanic food chain, and extra iron in the water can poison fish and mammals. These quick fixes and short term solutions will only cause more damage in the future.

The solution to global environmental problems doesn’t require sulfur clouds or giant storage facilities underground. We can’t hide from our destruction. We can’t change the world to suit our needs. We need to change ourselves. We need to become less selfish, reduce our carbon emissions, reduce our waste, and give something back to the earth for a change.

Liz Grogan