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Writing Ruminations

Writing is such an internal process. Why not make those private ruminations public? This is how stories take shape and grow.

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Location: Happy Valley, Oregon, United States

I've been supporting myself as a writer for many years and am watching the changes in the publishing world with fascination. For me, sharing the craft, teaching, is as creatively satisfying as the writing process itself.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Change at the Root

This has been a frustratingly wet and cold spring, where I dash outside for a few minutes only to see the sun vanish and rain or snow or hail start to fall once more. But Sunday, I really did get a very nice ray of spring sunshine. Earlier this year, I met a couple of people who belonged to an urban homesteading group that had recently formed. They took a cheesemaking workshop I taught and I asked if I could join the group. I attended the meeting this Sunday and I was thrilled. I have been raising all or nearly all of my food on my small acreage for more than twenty years and I've grown discouraged by the general obliviousness of the average American. Food comes from the store, you buy what you want, who cares where it comes from? That seems to finally be changing. The artisnal food movement, slow food, awareness of carbon and climate impact....all these seem to be coming together to make a lot of people more aware of their connection...or lack of it....to the earth. We are what we eat, and we have given up control of that over the past century. I see some initial steps toward changing that in the growing interest in wild or sustainably grown crops, CSA, and the like. In this group of people I was, as I said, thrilled to find folk who lived in the city and were searching for a way to grow at least a bit of their own food. They were looking for connections -- a bit of unused ground for a garden, connection to a local person who'd raise a meat animal for them, a way to network and share a surplus of apples, or figs, or plums.

You know, this represents a step away from the oblivious consumer mindset that we have gotten ourselves into. Work work work to buy buy buy. It's a vicious circle and one that is, I believe, undermining our economy dangerously. Look at the credit crash. It could get a lot worse. I am doing a lot of thinking about how to establish some kind of network so that, say, elderly folk in their residential homes who are losing control of their yards as they get frail can connect with a young couple who will trade weeding and pruning labor in return for space to put in a small garden. This is a rich opportunity to see some change at the grass roots level. There's hope for us yet, folks!

3 Comments:

Blogger Thea said...

The first homemade goat cheese I ever tasted came from you, Mary. It was wonderful. I have of late been making all kinds of goat cheese explorations including blue brie. But your blog brought back so many memories. Along with the vegetable garden, I have a yard full of fruit trees, berries and a small vineyard to supply the winery shed. I am not quite elderly but health problems mean I need to look for someone to help for a share in the food The more exchange-oriented we can be and the more local, the better. There is a synergy of the best of the old and the best of the new that can move us forward in a human way in the best of senses. Thanks for your blog and greetings to you from across the years!

10:43 AM  
Blogger Mary Rosenblum said...

Thea how COOL! Your garden, trees, and vines/vinyard sound very neat. I've become involved with a local urban homesteading group and we're exploring ways to set up some sort of exchange so folks who have extra produce can share or folks who have gardens but need some extra hands can get help. What kind of wine do you make?

12:07 PM  
Blogger Thea said...

We have pinot noir, pinot gris, tempranillo, a little syrah, viognier, gewurtz, and one cab on early-ripening rootstock. Not a lot of any, tho mostly pinot noir. Got into it about 4 years ago when doc suggested red wine and Mark got me to make a kit. After that, knowing nothing of wine, I gulped in all the info I could get. I wish we were more rural, tho Adair Village is better than some locations. We only have a 1/2 acre between us, and can't have animals (drat) but get local milk and eggs, etc. I probably need to think about talking to neighbors on the outskirts.

1:24 PM  

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