Both articles by Whyte and DeLind were very thought-provoking. DeLind’s article made me consider things I had never before. To quote her: “A good producer, a good product, a good consumer is not at all the same thing as a good citizen.” I pondered for a while what she really meant and eventually I came to this: we can spend our money and use our capital to buy and create “good” products like organic fruits and vegetables, electric cars, LED light bulbs, etc. but if we are not putting our minds and our talents to use to help our communities, our neighborhoods, then our money and capital has all but been wasted. In that practice we are not nurturing the greater good of what those products really stand for and simply perpetuating consumerism. I may think that I am a stand up citizen of this earth because I recycle, I buy locally grown produce when possible, limit my showers to 20 minutes and unplug my electronics when I leave the house. But if I think that doing these small acts is enough to compensate for the rest of my consumeristic lifestyle and minimal involvement in my community then I am kidding myself that any positive change can come from that. I believe what these articles are saying is that our individualistic, consumeristic lifestyles are not beneficial to the greater good of the earth. Our food systems need to change on the local level within our communities and neighborhoods because there is not a one-size-fits-all solution to the problems that our broken systems have created. Our own independent labors to each of our projects, in my case the New Roots garden, the people I meet with, the contracts I help draw up, the phone calls I make, will be part of a larger picture of a solution to a local need. I love how DeLind puts it… “…in our individual and sweaty sacrifices to it that we begin to inhabit places in any deep and collective way.”
Agriculture is not merely a means to an economic end. The process is a journey, a cultural experience in and of itself. It ties communities together. It literally brings people together, equalizes them, gives them a shared goal.