Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day: Foodscapes

Regardless of the fact that this little morsel of Environmental Insight isn’t hitting the World Wide Web until approximately 6:30 p.m. Eastern, this entire day has been Blog Action Day.

Because I have a wee brain that has a tough time following the complicated science and implications of pollution, land-use, global warming and whatnot, my doorway into thinking about, talking about, and doing something about The Environment involves my foodscape. Oh, how I love that word: foodscape. So utterly delicious and descriptive and captures everything I am going to muddle up here.

I am certainly no expert when it comes to Environmental Issues. I don’t know much, but I know enough to be concerned that we are causing unnecessary and irreparable harm to our human and non-human neighbors as well as to the intricate systems that are responsible for life on Earth as we know it. I think the notion that we reign supreme is ungrateful and fatal for many species, including our own. (And not just someday down the road, but right now.) Indeed, I think the idea of the dichotomy between Us and The Environment is perhaps the most damaging idea humans have ever latched onto.

But it is all so overwhelming! Whenever I let myself sit down and really think about the state we are in and the health of our system, I find myself consumed with anxiety. Also, I feel so guilty when I see how I live my life is a direct contradiction to these concerns, these ideas of connectedness. That I crave and too-often buy anything that is all shiny and new (and usually entirely unnecessary) sends me spiraling into a pit of despair and self-loathing. I wish I were exaggerating. And yet, I still really, really want an iPod.

When I am not wallowing in guilt, then my head threatens to explode when I try to understand the ramifications of losing a local breed of mosquito or some such critter, and what that means to the ecological web. It is too intricate, too complicated, and far too frightening. My little wee brain can’t handle it.

Rethinking the most basic aspects of my life seems to be my only avenue into the difficult ideas around the state of The Environment. Lately, where I am able to enter into these ideas is through food. This shouldn’t be surprising, as of course my interest in food is powerful enough to overcome my fear of Seeing How Bad Things Really Are. As well as my fear of The Ever-Expanding Thighs and Butt.

Really exploring where my food comes from, and the food that feeds my community, and just what the hell is in that food has opened up my understanding and concern for The Environment in a wholly unexpected way. The awesome, complicated, and intricate connections between our actions and the resultant Environment are made much more understandable to my stupid ass when I consider my meals. I am (just barely) starting to understand the social, cultural, and economic circumstances that have created that dichotomy of Us and The Environment through the web of food. On these cultural and economic maps, the locality of structures (and Structures), such as of the availability and variety (or increasing lack thereof) of seeds as well as animal feedlots and grocery stores, are beginning to come into distinct, sharp relief.

At least I am finding a way to engage with my concerns, rather than just freaking out and saying, “Oh fuck it. A., make me a drink.”

So, I think about my foodscape. Where is it? What is it made up of? Where are the local boundaries, and where is it global? How can I be a part of it? Change it? I am beginning to really consider growing some of my own food. (I have little business doing this, as I can’t even keep my little basil plants alive. But think of all the misadventures I can post about as I find my way over the learning curve!) A. and I are members of our local food co-op and encourage the group to supply products and produce from our regional foodscape. At least it is a start.

After all that rambling, this is what I am trying to say: I am starting to get to know and participate in my foodscape. The more I explore foodscapes, both regionally and globally, the more convinced I am that engaging here, as just one little person, I can start to bring about the change I so desperately want to see.


  1. I think this is really interesting and cool. It is part of the same thing you were saying when we talked about hunting, and about how the meat you eat this winter will be only what you have gotten yourselves and not what you could go buy at the grocery store.

  2. I like "foodscape". I am interested in learning about it too (as long as it involves FACTS and not made-up food lobby stuff). It's hard when everyone seems to have an agenda when it comes to food. Bah.

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