We are getting ready to attend the Hazon Food Conference, which has brought about a bit of a reflection.
I've been thinking this past fall, as we investigate our institutional role in the future, abou tthe futility I felt about going to farmer's markets last year. About how much work it took to grow everything. How much money we lost on our mistakes. All of the times we connected with people, and then lost those connections.
Things like this get me down, but if I were to stop and reflect on what my thoughts were when I "joined" this movement, I would have said something like:
1. Individual consumers are the only people who have the power to change things, and we should stick together to vote with our dollars.
2. Public policy won't change without pressure from people.
3. All of our needs come from the planet, and we need to start taking care of it.
4. People are spiritually connected to the planet, and working with nature is good for people spiritually.
It's easy to feel that I'm not accomplishing anything when my individual project doesn't seem to be advancing, or it's not advancing at a quick enough rate.
But when I consider that I'm going to the Food Conference, and I'm going to be joined by bunches of other people who are working for the same thing, I feel a little better. When I think of Hazon's work to raise awareness about the Farm Bill, I'm reminded that even though progress may seem slow to me individually, there is a lot that has taken place and will take place to make our food system more just.
Then I think about the growing organic market, the farmer's markets and CSA's that exist, most of which are relatively new. I think abou tthe restaurants that have added healthier meals, and abou the DIY movement and the people that I know who respect what I'm working for, even though they are not a part of it.
I think about our institution, and all the people who we have worked with and shared with, and all the other institutions such as Pearlstone and Isabella Freedman. It shows me that though I might feel hopeless, there is actually a lot that is changing. And that's a good thing, and I'm really proud to be a part of it.
So, if I were to talk to my past self, I would add:
5. Change takes a lot of time, a lot of money, a lot of work, and a lot of people. But it DOES happen.
I hope these words will be encouraging to everyone working in the Jewish environmental and food movements.
Best, and I hope to see many of you at the conference!
Pushing the Envelope Farm