Thursday, January 21, 2010

I've got those globalized food blues

I've written often on the subject of local food and local art and local politics.

I have a "local" fixation.

But why not? What has globalization wrought? Banks too big to fail that do. Corporations that have been granted the same rights as citizens. Bought-off members of Congress. Far-flung wars fought at the behest of oil companies and foreign oil suppliers. Tasteless food in corporate grocery chains. Publishing conglomerates that publish only sure-fire blockbusters by celebs posing as authors (Sarah Palin, etc.).

All that and more.

I'm just jumping on a bandwagon that has its roots in the farms and villages of our grandfathers. A movement that looks to alternative energy and backyard gardens and the neighborhood quilter and the farmers' market. Nothing big -- and that's the point. Big is bad. Big is too big.

So I keep observing local ideas taking root. In Cheyenne, we have two outdoor farmers' markets and a winter market just getting started. We have at least two organic/sustainable growers in northern Colorado -- Wolf Moon Farms and Grant Farms -- promoting their "Community Shares" program in southeast Wyoming. The Northern Colorado Food Incubator provides a focus for all the growers in the CO/WY nexus. Backyard gardens are sprouting all over, including in my backyard. I'm not the farmer my grandfather was, but I don't face feast or famine as he did in Iowa. I can grow some of my own fruits and veggies, and get the rest through farmers' markets and on trips to Albertson's or Safeway. Were I able to grow my own coffee, I would. I can at least buy the fair trade variety at the store.

This would all seem like so much aging Baby Boomer/naive Gen-X nonsense if it weren't for the many people engaged in local sustainability. I never talk politics with the guy from Brush, Colorado, who sells sweet corn out of his truck bed on September Saturdays. But we do talk sweet corn, and we agree on that. Small-scale tomato growers speak a common language. We speak tomato. Not tow-mah-tow. It's ta-may-tow, or maybe ta-may-ter or, simply, may-ter. I listen to other tomato growers because they most know more than I ever will.

We do have a common enemy in this country's corporate food system. It's making us sick. Not literally, unless you count the occasional tainted spinach or bad beef outbreaks. But it's short-changing our precious bodily fluids through processed foods. That food is also shipped long distances to our stores, burning fossil fuels and polluting the air and contributing to global warming.

Today, in Cheyenne, I saw cantaloupe on sale. August and September are cantaloupe months. That's when Rocky Ford varieties from southern Colorado come our way. I'll eat other High Plains cantaloupe. But in January, Albertson's features cantaloupe from Chile. It's summer in Chile. Chileans are whooping it up at the beach and eating cantaloupe. But how much did it costs to bring the fruit to Cheyenne, where the only beach we're frequenting in January is in our memories?

I received word today that a group of artists are getting together to talk about putting studios in the abandoned Hynds Building downtown. The building on the city's main drag has been sitting vacant for years. Various businesses, including one hotel conglomerate, have talked about buying and renovating the place. But then the economy tanked. If we can get artists in there in the meantime, all the better. Artists creating and providing some after-hours life to downtown. If you're interested in this downtown project, contact Rebecca Barrett at

None of this is going to happen overnight. We only at the beginning of the (dare I say it?) surge.

But, to get this globalization monkey off our backs, we have to start somewhere.

1 comment:

Model Minority said...

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