Monday, December 6, 2010

Retain the Tester amendment

BEFORE the United States of America became a great producer of modern goods and services, our ancestors were farmers. This growing nation of innovators and organizers was fed by a westwardly-migrating population of planters and tillers.

A billowing spirit of agrarian productivity grabbed our nascent nation by the scruff of the neck; it thrust our great-great-great grandfathers and grandmothers out upon fertile prairies and verdant valleys with rakes and a hoes and a teams of grunting oxen and mules. Even from the start, we were a mobile nation, yearning to be free, and aiming to busy ourselves with gainful agriculture.

Along the road, we organized, we mechanized, transportized our ways and means of producing food on a massive scale, over two centuries of intensely fruitful labor. We produced, with much toil and sweat, the vast system of food production and distribution that we have today.

We clueless Americans--each one of us--need to take a studious walk up and down the aisles of our nearby grocery stores. We need to consider the vast array of foodstuffs available at our fingertips. We must understand that all of this didn't just happen for us while we were adolescents sipping fizzy sodapop, looking for some kind of excitement while mommy and daddy were at work so we'd have dinner on the table.
Two centuries of developing industry and agricultural innovation made our supermarkets what they are today. This was no small feat. It turns upon a vast system of food distribution that is, guess what, slowly becoming, from a planetary standpoint, too expensive, and ultimately unsustainable.

In the decades ahead, we must get back, at least partially, to local food production; it's the only way out of our present breakdown. Agriculture requires land, water, and work. What are more and more folks needing these days that they don't have? Work. What else do those unemployed cadres need every day? Food.

Put the two concepts together, y'all. Now is the time for all good men and women to get off their twinkie obesities and find something to do besides the same-old-same-old whatever's available down at the state unemployment office. Read 'em and weep, America. Times are hard, and will not get better until we fundamentally change they way we do things. What can YOU do today to sustain life for yourself and those whom you love? Take another disappointing trip down to the employment office?

If we'll look around, we'll see that between the parking lots and driveways and big boxes we still have some earth beneath all that pavement. Maybe it's time we start using those spaces for something besides collecting rubbish and growing weeds. Even grass--what good is it compared to alfalfa?

Now we stand upon the precipice of an obsolete, collapsing monetary-industrial system. We will never again produce, on a massive scale, the wheels and widgets and whatnots that drove our pride and our paychecks empowering us to glide through those cornucopious A&P aisles.

Many of us have already figured this out, and are doing something about it. Have you been to a local farmer's market lately? There may be someone there with whom you can barter or trade for food so you won't have to be spending so much of your hard-earned $$ just to keep dinner on the table. Not only that, but what about your carbon footprint? Oh, but that's another compost pile of worms...

Anyway, here's what actually what got me going on this rant this snowy Saturday morning. When the US House of Representatives takes up the food safety bill that the Senate (SB 510) has passed, don't let our lawmakers strangle local farmers with burdensome regulations that are appropriate only for mega-producers. We don't need the feds interfering with grassroots commerce. Let the citizens of our townships and cities decide for themselves what locally-grown produce and food they are willing to take a chance on eating.

Don't let the Reps weed out the Tester amendment. If you don't know what that is, google it. It's time you found out what's going on with the food.

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