food sovereignty

Last night, I attended my first meeting with a new group bringing local food issues to the forefront–Food Sovereignty Bloomington is fighting to bring the rights of citizens back to the food system. Raw milk. The gift of a chicken, from my lawn to your table. An edible landscape rather than a crisp lawn of Roundup-coated, lawn mower-dependent grass.

I walked into the far corner of the library, late after running from class, with snow still melting in my bangs. The room was full–permaculture specialists,  Master Gardeners, young ‘uns like me who’ve yet to keep anything alive. Each of us there, fighting for our right as a community to fill our parks with food, to share food with our neighbors & to bring natural foods back to our community.

Each of us introduced ourselves & our reasons for concern about the food system. They all largely came back to this: If these actions aren’t taken now, if the food system is allowed to continue down its current path, at what point will we be forced (for lack of varied food supply & continued population expansion) to rely on food we can grow for ourselves?

County & local government officials joined us at the meeting, willing to express their concerns & give us an initial point in the right direction. While they gave us a taste of realism (Ok, so you can’t write & pass legislation in a month), they also gave us hope that change is possible… which then gave me hope that someday, when we move on to other towns, we’ll be able to bring these changes with us.

While the meeting went on, examples of potential legislation were passed around–from Maine, Vermont, towns across the country where people have said that their right to be free from large agriculture practices they find damaging is greater than the rights of the corporations to bring this food, often unlabeled, into our cities. Slowly, we’re moving toward change. Slowly, we’re getting closer to ideas and principles we didn’t know were freedoms until they were taken away. Slowly, farmers of all sizes are gaining more viable options.

I’m excited to share this upcoming adventure with you, & I’m incredibly excited to here what’s happening in your own communities. Do you know yet? Or are you the leader it’s waiting for? Who’s bringing sustainable agriculture to your community’s consciousness, & how are things changing? I want to hear your stories.

Now that the busy first week is complete, I’m celebrating a new internship & summer plans, a new yogurt maker, a new class to start next week (Human Behavior & Energy Consumption replacing my law class), new friends & potential to see change made in this community… I’m celebrating with some vegan pumpkin-chocolate cookies, some gin & tonic, some French film, & some time with Joe. After a year of part-time employment (French quasi-full time employment) & then just now a month with no obligations, it’s weird to spend 10 hours of the day away from each other.

Have a good weekend. I’ll see you Monday for the next Being Conscious post.

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About meganbetz

human geography PhD Student at Indiana University; wife, reader, writer, baker, gardener
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