No To Black Friday & Slow Food
Welcome to "Black Friday". The first recorded use of this term was in reference to a financial crisis: specifically, the crash of the U.S. gold market on September 24, 1869. Now, of course, it refers to a different sort of financial crisis, namely the emptying of one's bank account in a frenzy of retail shopping, followed by the online craziness of Cyber Monday. Thankfully, there are other ways to engage in holiday shopping that are a bit more palatable and also help answer Chris Martins's question, that I posted last week, of "How do we turn it around so it's not so much taking as giving?" So although I avoid both of these aforementioned retail events like the Black Plague, I do participate in two other "shopping events" namely, Small Business Saturday (November 30) and Giving Tuesday (December 3). But I even question my participation in these two events as I worry that the perpetuation of their existence may lead some folks to view participating in these two designated days as enough. A check in the "to do" box and then moving on to life as usual, while the reality is that our local, small businesses as well as local and global non-profits and NGOs need our ongoing support more than ever. Over the course of my childhood, my self-employed parents instilled in me the importance of supporting local small businesses and volunteering in one's community, but even with that background I have discovered that there is still room for improvement in my actions. So, over the past few years, I have made a concerted effort to embrace this practice as fully as I can, wherever I can, be it monetarily or through the giving of my time. By weaving these efforts and experiences more frequently into my routines, I have found that the fabric of my life has become much richer.
By not spending today out chasing a "great deal", I have the added advantage of being able to continue some of the joys of yesterday. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, primarily because of it's sole focus on the gathering of friends and/or family and the preparation and enjoyment of a meal enveloped in hospitality, conversation and reflections on all that we have to be grateful for. This holiday has taken on even more meaning for me over the years as I have bought food, volunteered and worked side by side with some of the farmers at our local organic farm, The Hickories. Time spent there, giving of myself when and where I can has profoundly changed the way I view and appreciate food and those who grow it so lovingly. My time interacting with folks at The Hickories has reminded me of many of life's simple pleasures, especially the joy of eating delicious, nutritious, seasonal food, often grown from heirloom varieties that possibly my grandparents also enjoyed. Although we had a garden and grew most of our food when I was a child, somehow over the years I became more and more removed from my food. I am thankful that The Hickories has reminded me of the incredible amount of care and time that goes into creating good, healthy food and I have come to hold organic farmers in high esteem. Knowing who grows your food, knowing that it is grown with care and in balance with the environment, lends meaning to the act of preparing and eating a meal. There is no way that I will ever let anything bought at The Hickories go to waste, not after all the hours of care that have gone into it's creation be it a beet or a pork chop. Knowing your farmer makes you thankful for and appreciative of food in a way that shopping in a grocery store simply cannot. For me, there is no better way than supporting an organization whose mission statement looks like this:
"We, your farmers at The Hickories, are striving to: - produce safe and nutritious products grown with respect for soil, animals, and people. - model an agriculture that is innovative and replicable: one that is ecologically, economically, and socially responsible. - grow new farmers and provide growth opportunities for existing farmers. - connect our community to working land.
Please join us! Support us in our work this season by contributing in any way you can to our goals and the vibrant work of refabricating a local and reliable agrarian economy."
Collective consciousness (see my November 7th blog post) is impacted by the vibrations that each one of us puts out at any given moment. Just as a tiny pebble thrown into a lake can cause ripples to spread out upon the surface of the water, our thoughts and actions can do very much the same thing. Together, around specific issues such as food, we can work to make cultural shifts that are beneficial to us all and the planet. So, I invite you on Black Friday to join in the effort to give more than you take. An easy first step might be to engage in even just one aspect of the Slow Food Movement. To learn how, read below or click on the image to the left for more information. Happy Green Friday!
The Slow Food Movement is focused on:
Plant a Seed Campaign: Every Spring, plant seeds from the Ark of Taste and learn how to preserve endangered (and delicious) plants.
Biodiversity: We promote sustainable agriculture, small-scale food production, and the preservation of traditional foods and knowledge, through our Ark of Taste products.
Food and Farm Policy: By advocating for positive change in public policy, we forge political, social, environmental and economic links to develop a sustainable and fair food chain.
Equity, Inclusion and Justice: We acknowledge that many injustices exist within our food system and are proactively working to dismantle these structures.
School Gardens: We educate and grow the next generation of food-aware individuals.
Slow Meat: We work for better meat by improving animal welfare and promoting regenerative agriculture, and less meat, by advocating for more sustainable cattle management practices.
Slow Fish: We promote local, community-driven fisheries, fish mongers, and fishermen that respect our resources and provide seafood that is good, clean, and sustainable.