Calling all youth, grown folk, community orgs, crop mobs, churches, etc…Join us on Sat. Sept. 11th in Goldsboro starting at 9am for our National Day of Service and Remembrance Volunteer Event! Come volunteer in community gardens throughout Goldsboro! Free lemonade to the first 1000 volunteers 😉 Please share the flyer and contact shorlette at (919) 288-0192 or firstname.lastname@example.org to register your group or if you would like more info.
Hello everyone. Today marks the final day of the fast food fast. The previous weeks were fairly easy. On some days, a bit challenging but I stuck through it. Although the fast food fast is over today, I will continue to be on a full fast from soda, fast food, and (i’ll try my best) to stay away from pork (which was my chosen self-challenge).
The ideas of food justice and community development have been very prevalent in my internship experience over the past two weeks. Both of these terms are nebulous and difficult to concretely define, as they refer to complex and shifting ideas, but I will give it a shot. Food justice is indiscriminate access to safe and healthy food, and involves the breaking down of existing barriers to that access, which include physical, economic, and paradigmatic barriers. Community development, as I am beginning to understand it, is the development of whatever a community needs to be successful and productive according to its own standards.
We have had numerous discussions about food access in low-income communities and about the role that “alternative food” advocates and practitioners have been trying to play in such places. The overwhelming tendency in this movement has been to try to implant the ethics of sustainably raised, healthy, local food into these communities preformed, as in to take ideas about food that have risen out of other contexts and needs and “teach” them to folks in low-income areas. This tendency is born of very good intentions- many of the areas in question presently have little or no access to fresh or unprocessed foods, and the want to change things that are currently unjust is natural and common. The trouble is that it makes the assumption that people in very different communities with different needs and resources all want to see the same kind of changes in available food. The situation in an area that currently only has access to conventionally grown food from the global food system is different than that of an area that currently doesn’t have access to fresh food at all. The former community is hungry for the ability to make choices about the kind of the food system it chooses to support, while the latter may actually just want what is perceived to be normal and standard. One of the articles that we read quoted a person in an area with limited food access saying that the change they wanted was to have a Safeway built in their neighborhood.
So then my question is what to do. I have had this conviction for years that connecting with food and land has the capacity to make people feel good in some deep and fundamental way, and my plan has always been to take this idea to places where people may not have ever thought of it, and to groups that might particularly benefit from something of that nature. After having had all of these conversations about not imposing the ideas that one community has about food on others, and acknowledging that my truths are my own, I feel steeped in the question of how to proceed.
My ideas about the healing potential of engaging with food and the earth mostly revolve around the idea of a return to the most basic- bodies and food that nourishes and the land that we slowly and continually draw our very lives from. To me this has the potential to cut through the complexity and franticness that is threaded through our lives and culture, to be a metaphorical deep breath, an opening.
What I keep hearing from folks with more experience actually working with food and people is that to figure out how to be of service to other people and communities, the trick is to listen. To trust that people actually know what they need and that they can let you know what that is. To me this translates as taking on a certain quality in oneself, which really is just a matter of being open, which is really the foundation of the whole healing farm idea to begin with. So what I’ve come around to is that the quality that I need to cultivate in myself in order to have a shot at being successful in this work is the same quality that I hope to inspire in others through the healing farm, which is a very interesting “full-circle” experience.
Hey y’all, check out a new post documenting the CEFS interns’ experiences on their website!
We, the SWARMers of the Wayne Food Initiative, pledge no soda & no fast food for four weeks, July 12th-August 8th.
As Immanuel says: “I/We just know how we feel when we are eating at fast food, verses when eating Grandma’s cooking.” We will do this in solidarity with other NC youth Food Activist groups, and are asking for your support.
Please pledge a daily amount, watch our reports on WWW.WayneFoods.org, and join us by making your own good food choices!! We’ll be posting challenges, benefits, and creative solutions we find to make this good food eating shift easier to do!
TO PLEDGE YOUR SUPPORT: contact a swarmer directly if you know one and fill out their paper pledge form OR fill out our cool wufoo form!
We’re really geeked about the effort we’re putting together and need your support to get more youth involved!
Proceeds will support the SWARMers programming and projects, like attending the annual Rooted in Community (RIC) youth conference and growing good food in our community. Also check out SEEDS, Anathoth, and Stone House who are NC RIC organizers and also doing a fast food fast! Support NC food youth work!!
follow us on face book, and look for updates during the fast here on the WFI blog!
Head to the CEFS: On the Farm site to read more about what sustainability means to the summer interns:
Each of us has our own definition of ‘sustainability’. This week, the CEFS interns describe what the term means to them, and how their experiences here at the farm affect their perception of sustainability.
Sustainability, according to CEFS intern Remy Long:
Note: You define your “suffering.” You define your “middle way.” You interpret your “Eightfold Path.” No single paradigm is correct. No single paradigm can carry the burden alone in “being wrong.”
In Buddhism, there are Four Noble Truths:
1. All life is suffering (birth, growth and death are all suffering).
2. There is an origin to the suffering, and it is believed that origin is craving (in all its forms).
3. There is an end to suffering, and that is to end craving.
4. The Eightfold Path will guide us away from craving which causes suffering, which is done by enacting the following: right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.
First Noble Truth:
Aldo Leopold once said: “…the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds.” Many of us concerned with the issue of sustainability feel the burden, or suffering, of the ignorance we have displayed in our pasts and continue to in our future. We have immense amounts of information, (some that would ease our suffering if we heeded it, some that is forced upon us as propaganda) yet some choose to perpetuate suffering further by attempting to discredit or disregard information regarding our human evolution or impacts we have upon our biota.
Second Noble Truth:
We’ve gathered concepts of what genetic and cultural pressures have caused our suffering. Our craving has come in the form of globalization, industrialization, the loss of culture, the loss of individuality, the manipulation and exploitation of the environment, and so on. But, as many of us know, there are ways to work within this world and promote the expiry of suffering.
Third Noble Truth:
We want the greater populace to understand their suffering, and show them that the end to their suffering will come with the active diminishment of their craving. We have the information to end our suffering. Distribute that information, and create or promote a healthy environment in which to access and interpret that information, and you allow those suffering to define their own middle way.
Fourth Noble Truth:
The Eightfold Path (right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration) is the path we shall walk to end suffering, and attain not only enlightenment, but also an entirely sustainable biota.
At CEFS, I find that many of the people are working, knowingly and unknowingly, within The Eightfold Path to help construct an enlightened and sustainable world. As an intern, you may develop your path toward the middle way while weeding the garden, harvesting on the farm, opening your mind in a lecture or reaching out to the community. If you are willing to embrace the madness and unknown of all things, you may begin to find peace within yourself, and from there spread the basic information of what causes craving, how to diminish craving, and therefore come closer to attaining enlightenment and sustainability.
Stay tuned for more!