A boyhood visit to Arlington National Cemetery left a big impression on Morrill Worcester—one he never forgot. Decades later, in 1992, his company’s surplus of 5,000 wreaths and his desire to have them placed at Arlington kicked off an annual tribute that went on quietly for over ten years. With national interest in the project having grown so greatly, in 2007 a dedicated group of volunteers formed Wreaths Across America as a non-profit- Wreaths Across America – to continue and expand the mission to Remember, Honor, and Teach. That vision that Morrill had so many years ago only came to manifest through the hard work and collaboration of all the parties who make it possible every year – from the truckers to the wreath makers to the volunteers in all the cemeteries across the United states and all over the world. [Read transcript – click on SHOW MORE]
Like it or not, this is the reality of the current industrial food system with its monocultures, herbicides/pesticides, GMO crops, and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) geared for mass production. Is it sustainable? Is there a better way?
“Farmers Feed the World” (Watch Me, Hit the Quan, Uptown Funk Parody)
Uploaded on Jan 20, 2009 – Peterson Farm Bros [854,462+]
We can certainly cultivate far more culture via holistic farming and improved, innovative farming practices that are ecologically sound. To bear good fruit, we’ll need wise stewards of the land and a transformation of hearts.
“Food”, that all-important word that stands for how entities are nourished. “Nourished” is not simply being fed or having one stuffed with consumable matter; it’s about sustenance, that which sustains, heals, cultivates and enables us to grow in stature, strength and/or other capacities.
“Shed”, a protective shelter to safeguard someone and/or something, also implies a bestowal like an “outpouring”. “Foodshed” can be viewed as that system which provides for the production, storage and distribution of food; managed appropriately, a foodshed can shower the bounty of Earth’s goodness upon all of us.
If we were to consider all the world not merely a stage but a storehouse and we not merely as players but as stewards and diners at one table (albeit, a huge table), how might we behave in this world? How might we treat one another? How might we treat the Earth and the abundance within it?
As at any joyous feast where the baskets and platters are passed around and all are able to fill their plates according to their own tastes and appetites, there is no need for greediness or hoarding; even those preparing and serving the food are adequately fed. Imagine a world of bounty that was no longer shackled by the illusion of scarcity–how would that world operate?
We are blessed with a diversity of palates and preferences such that all of us can be satisfied with the variety of foods available here on our home planet Earth. At any given moment, there’s a finite but adequate amount a food available to be eaten; our challenge is to ensure that the food is accessible and acceptable and that it continues to be available.
The AAA Foodshed–acceptable, available and accessible–that is what would deserves our concern. We could focus our resources on the quality, abundance and distribution of food locally, regionally, nationally and internationally, even globally. These are the “terraces” of the global foodshed. Each terrace encompasses its own challenges and advantages; each merits due consideration in managing and sustaining its operation.
Like most effective and efficient systems, the terraces of the foodshed are best governed as close to the source as possible but with flexibility to allow for innovations. Indeed, by involving minimal bureaucracy to ensure quality, the system can be self-regulating for the most part; beyond that, any regulation needs to be scale-appropriate to ensure availability and accessibility.
Food distributed locally and/or direct to consumers requires the least scrutiny as the stream of commerce can regulate itself in most cases. A food provider lacking in quality will not be sourced for the long-term. When the producer and recipient are aware of each other, the obligation to fulfill the bond of trust is more keenly felt. Should a quality problem arise, the food is easily traced back to the source and more quickly resolved. Where the direct relationship is nurtured, the parties feel a sense of gratitude and responsibility to ensure only goodness is shared; this offers a transparency unmatched by large-scale, distant producers.
On a regional level, including intrastate commerce, traceability is key in monitoring quality. The distances between producer and consumer are manageable enough for a relatively small team to track down the source of any quality problems that arise. At this level, reputation and maintaining market share are suitable inducements to motivate producers to be vigilant in care given to producing acceptable food.
The real challenge is food that is distributed nationally because of the sheer volume and dispersion of food products. Recognizing a duty to look out for the well-being of our fellow members of society, large-scale producers can infuse throughout their operations a sense of pride in workmanship that insists on quality and refuses to compromise the integrity of food products.
Quality must be an integral ingredient of the process from start to finish, essentially built in. Just as one cannot inject “quality” into a finished product, one cannot “inspect” bad quality out. Inspection is a tool for verifying quality; system integrity and the integrity of management and all contributors is the requirement. At this level, transparency with impunity and clear traceability are needed for effective monitoring.
When a high degree of trustworthiness is established by a track record of quality then there is confidence enough to distribute food products internationally or even on a global scale. Monitoring and traceability must remain in place to detect and resolve may quality issues that may arise. If the goal is to provide for a wholesome foodshed, then the aim is not to seek prosecution so much as to ensure that any deficiencies in the system are rectified.
How can such transparency, traceability and quality monitoring occur? Revolutionizing our attitudes toward our fellow humans would be a noble endeavor. If I were to view others as part of my loving family–unfortunately, not everyone has experienced genuine love–then I would seek to be of service to my community and desire to be a worthy recipient of its bestowals. This is neither whim nor idle fancy; it’s a real possibility and it’s been modeled in parts of the world.
Let us get busy setting the global table and cultivating friendships so that each one of us will have a seat and a plate to satisfy our palates.
Join us for the journey into a whole new world . . .
“A Whole New World” sung by Chauncey Matthews and Ruben Stoddard
Uploaded on Sep 9, 2006 – ellieishappy [47,063+]