The video below reminds me of the old food co-ops in Cambridge, Mass, back in the late ’60s and early ’70s, when we’d band together to order bulk food from afar once every week or two — seeds, grains, nuts, oil, dried fruits, etc. (The order would come to one person’s apartment, and we’d all troupe over there to sort the orders and pick ours up.) But with a crucial difference: now people want to source their food locally, thus saving on transport costs, as well as helping their local and organic farmers, As of 2008, when this video was produced, that is what at least some Oklahoma folks were still doing, though on a larger scale. Usually, co-op buying clubs morph into storefronts, as in our local member-owned co-op, Bloomingfoods, started back in 1976, and now about to open its fourth store, or is it fifth? In turn, Bloomingfoods is networked into a regional food buying cooperative network.
Speaking of local, how many communities have not already started a thriving weekly Farmer’s Market? That idea has taken off like wildfire in the past decade or so. And how many people have not heard of CSAs? Another hot idea.
And then of course, there are all our gardens, both private gardens and community and/or neighborhood gardens, they’re also sprouting up everywhere, in lots of different forms. Like the one I started, the Green Acres Neighborhood Garden, now in its 5th year.
And there are new, highly efficient, ways to garden too, even for those who live in inner cities. See, for example, my son Colin’s Garden Tower Project.
BTW: I remember when the first locally owned restaurant opened here that sold mostly locally-sourced food. That was only a few years ago. Now locally-sourced food is a big selling point for even some chain restaurants. A new “Noodles” just opened in a little strip mall not far from me, and last night the young, gung-ho manager made it a point to tell me that they are mandated to source as many ingredients as they possibly can, locally.
Oh yeah, and one more thing: even the word “permaculture” is beginning to seep into the vernacular. And though most people still don’t know what it is, when I mention it, they’ve already heard of the word, and so want to know more. I tell them it means “permanent culture,” a way to learn from nature how to design systems that provide a nutrient womb for the continuous, mutually reinforcing interconnectedness among all living beings. Then I give them a few examples. Like greening a desert, or cultivating a mountainside. And I especially like to talk about “edge.” How the edges are always where the action is.
We’re on the cutting edge of a new, deeply regenerative way of interweaving our lives.
Thanks to Andy Marrs for the pointer to the video.