Is sustainability sustainable? We will find out. The answer to that question will dictate how our children, grandchildren, and subsequent generations live.
I don't believe that Barbara Kingsolver is advocating that every American becomes a farmer; instead, she is pointing out how far from our food we have traveled. A hundred years ago, people were eating local, sustainable, seasonal, fresh food....and now we (as a nation) largely eat packaged, processed, anything-but-local food, and we don't even remember what real food tastes like. I think that Kingsolver is trying to remind us of these facts, and point out one alternative. Her case is relatively extreme - nobody will pay me to write about my garden! - but that doesn't mean that it is without merits. She did, after all, grow all of this on a mere 3000 sq. feet of land (or something like that), according to her calculations.
I think that what Kingsolver does, and effectively at that, is inspire excitement to do something differently. As a result of her book, and of my own interest in the subject, I planted my own garden this year for the first time ever. I'm now eating garden lettuce, radishes, and sugar snap peas in abundance, and my tomato crop brings a smile to my face whenever I see it.
I learned through my gardening what some foods are supposed to taste like. Did you know that a fresh strawberry dribbles juice when you bite into it? I'd forgotten. I was used to it being firm...not delectably juicy.
But gardening is only the tip of the iceberg. Kingsolver demands a paradigm shift, not that we all become gardeners. She is telling us to question our food sources, to question our purchases, to question what our impact on the environment is. She gives reasonable advice that anyone can follow: support farmer's markets, for example. And she has good rationale for doing so, as well.
I'm refusing plastic bags. I'm having "no drive" days. I'm line drying sometimes. I've got a little garden. I'm using the library more. I know that these steps don't fix the earth's problems, but I am convinced that they help. Baby steps are better than no steps.
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