Sunday, April 26, 2009

There's Something in the Air... (Besides the Smell of Cheese Wafting from our Cooler...)

This week at Saxelby Cheesemongers, we're not going to talk about what we're up to at all. Nope. We're going to talk about all the good things that other folks are doing. It seems that at this moment in time, we have the distinct privilege of being part of a collective groundswell of action and interest in all things sustainable. There are countless millions of organizations and projects the world over that are rearranging and rethinking the way that local economies are built, and the way that power is leveraged. And it seems to me that when all else is said and done, it's really all about complexity. Embracing complexity and allowing it to flourish rather than prescribing a remedy from the detached top down or trying to separate and distill things that are meant to coexist in many-layered ways. The solutions to some of our most irksome problems usually aren't what you imagine they might be, and they don't come from the likely suspects. That's what makes them so great.

There are too many things going on out there to ever hope to keep track of, (though that dang interweb makes it tempting to try...) but I wanted to share with you just a few of my favorite discoveries of late.

The Promised Land (thepromisedland.org) is up there at the top of inspiring projects, and comes to us in the form of a radio show hosted by Majora Carter. One sleepy morning while trying to decide whether to drag my butt out of bed or hit the old snooze button I heard Ms. Carter on WNYC and promptly popped up for a cup of coffee and more info. One of her most compelling interviewees is a part of a group called Tree People based in California. An unlikely turn of events put an architect/planner/parent in touch with a local government official charged with revamping public schools. He took one look at the plans and identified asphalt as the linchpin toward change. Starting with the school district where his child was enrolled, Tree People began to rip up asphalt and plant trees, scoring a triple whammy that provides better air quality, better energy efficiency, and undoubtedly more beautiful school yards.

Food Democracy Now (fooddemocracynow.org) is an organization doing the extremely time consuming, extremely unglamorous work of watching the government, and the USDA in particular to make sure that we're not fed more bogus farm policy in this administration. Lord knows the halls of government are long, winding and convoluted as all get out. Thank goodness there are folks out there endeavoring to air the potential dirty laundry. Sign up for their newsletter to keep abreast of goings-on in the backstage areas of our national farm policy making!

Finally, Retrovore (retrovore.com) is a more local site that is doing the fabulous work of chronicling our very own agricultural champions. They've recorded bunches of interviews with Greenmarket farmers, have tips and tricks to help you get started growing your own food, and list tons of books and other helpful guides to the burgeoning arena of urban agriculture. They say it best when they say that Retrovore is dedicated to the notion that we can live well without living large.

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