Friday, March 5, 2010

Radical Home Making

Every so often I get an email from Homegrown.org which is a part of Farmaid.org. I joined up well over a year ago, it's a wonderful community who are interested in the:

"celebration of imaginative, passionate people who love to eat, grown and cook good food."

And while I'm quoting from their site:

"HOMEGROWN.ORG is an online community of people interested in all things HOMEGROWN: growing, cooking, crafting, brewing, preserving, building, making and creating. HOMEGROWN.org is a place where we can learn from each other, share our questions, and show off how we dig in the dirt, grow our own food, work with our hands, and cook and share our meals – all things that we call HOMEGROWN"

So today's email was about a new cook book that has a very funny cover picture and a great title:
Radical Homemakers by Shannon Hayes. My first thought was: Wow a book about me and the more I read about it (I've just placed my order) the more radical I think it is, in this time we live in, to be a homemaker and not feel lesser than or somehow like a servant. Not sure where the idea came from that only corporate or professional jobs where you make a lot of money were the only ones worth having?

Obviously, with this blog, I am exploring this very idea of how can we live in a city, be urban yet be as gentle as possible in our impact on the planet and bring our way of life back to something more manageable and sustainable. I've used this period of unemployment and turned it into an exploration of homemaking with an obvious focus on food and the politics that surround it and it has in turn at the very least given me something to do, but also radically (there's that word again) made me rethink how I live in the city and see how much cheaper and better I can live when I avoid the trappings of corporate food.

Who'd have thought that the first lady planting an organic garden would have been controversial? I sure didn't. It says so much, to me, about who we are as a culture and where we have come from that something like growing a vegetable garden without the use of pesticides was somehow radical. Pesticde use in this country didn't really build up steam until after world war 2. In part it was the chemical warehouse from the war that needed to be used that motivated the idea of pesticides along with increasing production by planting thousands if not millions of acres of mono-cultures, which simply are not sustainable.

Here is another quote from the Homegrown blurb on Radical Homemakers that is from the introduction to the book (the red highlight is mine):

As I looked more closely at the role homemaking could play in revitalizing our local food system, I saw that the position was a linchpin for more than just making use of garden produce and chicken carcasses. Individuals who had taken this path in life were building a great bridge from our existing extractive economy – where corporate wealth was regarded as the foundation of economic health, where mining our earth’s resources and exploiting our international neighbors was accepted as simply the cost of doing business – to a life-serving economy, where the goal is, in the words of David Korten, to generate a living for all, rather that a killing for a few, where our resources are sustained, our waters are kept clean, our air pure, and families can lead meaningful and joyful lives.

In the end what is so eye opening to me is that what used to be considered something valuable and essential - growing and making of food - got relegated to the compost heap because it wasn't convenient? Certainly with high rents and expensive food stuffs urban living can leave little time for much else than work. That's what I hope to be doing here.

The good news is that people really want to change, want to eat better, healthier food that is made from food not from products and after decades of eating processed packaged crap this old idea has taken foot again and become radical. And now we have a new book to further help us on our journey towards being Radical Homemakers thanks to Shannon Hayes.

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