Comments on: The Great Big Food Kablooey: Why Food is Complicated http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/01/the-great-big-food-kablooey-why-food-is-complicated/ Sharon Astyk's Ruminations on an Ambiguous Future Sun, 20 Jul 2008 21:51:29 +0000 #?v=2.3.2 By: Unequal access to food | Toban Black http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/01/the-great-big-food-kablooey-why-food-is-complicated/#comment-5871 Unequal access to food | Toban Black Thu, 22 May 2008 16:17:43 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/01/the-great-big-food-kablooey-why-food-is-complicated/#comment-5871 [...] Astyk on the ownership and distribution of industrial foods [...] […] Astyk on the ownership and distribution of industrial foods […]

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By: corinne http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/01/the-great-big-food-kablooey-why-food-is-complicated/#comment-5148 corinne Sat, 03 May 2008 13:39:04 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/01/the-great-big-food-kablooey-why-food-is-complicated/#comment-5148 Dear Sharon, Thanks for another well-thought-out post. I live in France and have just returned from visiting family in Greece (I'm half-Greek). I've been more and more appalled at the construction growth around cities and in touristed areas, as well as the urbanites' growing response to follow the siren call of consumerism, as shopping malls and giant supermarkets spring up all over the place. Greece has regions which are fairly dry, and the water siphoned off to the tourist business has often been problematic. But I was aghast at a letter I read in the paper yesterday, illustrating the blind and obstinate progression of big business and government collusion at the expense of their own compatriots: ******************************************* Messinia: 300 swimming pools but no vegetables Commentary by Tasoula Karaiskaki (Kathimerini newspaper, May 2, 2008) Everyone knows that Greece’s administration is in a state of disarray, but it is rare to find such outrageous hypocrisy, such unequal treatment (of locals and tourists) as occurs in the prefecture of Messinia, in the Peloponnese. Water is a resource that is scarce and the fact that sacrifices have to be made is self-evident. There is understandable panic among Kalamata’s water resources association and the municipal water and sewerage works (DEYA), which are concerned that “the water level in springs is very low and the residents of Kalamata, Messini, Thuria, Arios and Avia will run out of water,” according to a statement by the Kalamata Ecology Movement to the local newspaper Eleftheria. DEYA Messini has asked villagers to use water only for household use from 9 a.m. to noon and from 6 p.m to 9 p.m. and to avoid planting vegetables this year, even on a small scale, because of the water shortage. In the same area, a Natura 2000 region, there are forested mountains, sheltered bays and coasts with serious water problems, such as salinization, because of overdrilling, where the Integrated Tourism Development Region (POTA) Messinia has undertaken to build a colossal hotel complex with two luxury developments, the one with 142 private swimming pools and several public ones and the second with 123 private and again many more public pools. POTA Messinia received 146 million euros in public funds last year to build these swimming pools, among other things, so that privileged tourists can swim right next to those magical beaches. Meanwhile, local residents in villages, who have paid (along with all of us taxpayers) 16 euros each to build a tourism industry that involves high political and economic stakes, where the government provides assistance in overcoming bureaucratic obstacles, can’t even plant a tomato. That is nothing less than a scandal and a disgrace. *************************************** If nothing else, this article should be a wake-up call to inequities propagated by big business and thoughtless tourism. And it shows that wherever you are and whatever you are doing, there are consequences that impact someone else. Corinne Dear Sharon,

Thanks for another well-thought-out post. I live in France and have just returned from visiting family in Greece (I’m half-Greek). I’ve been more and more appalled at the construction growth around cities and in touristed areas, as well as the urbanites’ growing response to follow the siren call of consumerism, as shopping malls and giant supermarkets spring up all over the place.

Greece has regions which are fairly dry, and the water siphoned off to the tourist business has often been problematic. But I was aghast at a letter I read in the paper yesterday, illustrating the blind and obstinate progression of big business and government collusion at the expense of their own compatriots:

*******************************************
Messinia: 300 swimming pools but no vegetables
Commentary by Tasoula Karaiskaki
(Kathimerini newspaper, May 2, 2008)

Everyone knows that Greece’s administration is in a state of disarray, but it is rare to find such outrageous hypocrisy, such unequal treatment (of locals and tourists) as occurs in the prefecture of Messinia, in the Peloponnese.

Water is a resource that is scarce and the fact that sacrifices have to be made is self-evident. There is understandable panic among Kalamata’s water resources association and the municipal water and sewerage works (DEYA), which are concerned that “the water level in springs is very low and the residents of Kalamata, Messini, Thuria, Arios and Avia will run out of water,” according to a statement by the Kalamata Ecology Movement to the local newspaper Eleftheria. DEYA Messini has asked villagers to use water only for household use from 9 a.m. to noon and from 6 p.m to 9 p.m. and to avoid planting vegetables this year, even on a small scale, because of the water shortage. In the same area, a Natura 2000 region, there are forested mountains, sheltered bays and coasts with serious water problems, such as salinization, because of overdrilling, where the Integrated Tourism Development Region (POTA) Messinia has undertaken to build a colossal hotel complex with two luxury developments, the one with 142 private swimming pools and several public ones and the second with 123 private and again many more public pools. POTA Messinia received 146 million euros in public funds last year to build these swimming pools, among other things, so that privileged tourists can swim right next to those magical beaches.

Meanwhile, local residents in villages, who have paid (along with all of us taxpayers) 16 euros each to build a tourism industry that involves high political and economic stakes, where the government provides assistance in overcoming bureaucratic obstacles, can’t even plant a tomato. That is nothing less than a scandal and a disgrace.

***************************************

If nothing else, this article should be a wake-up call to inequities propagated by big business and thoughtless tourism. And it shows that wherever you are and whatever you are doing, there are consequences that impact someone else.

Corinne

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By: yooper http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/01/the-great-big-food-kablooey-why-food-is-complicated/#comment-5089 yooper Thu, 01 May 2008 23:00:53 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/01/the-great-big-food-kablooey-why-food-is-complicated/#comment-5089 Hello Sharon! You referred that you had a "vision" of the future of industrial society. Could you point to me where this could be found? Thanks, yooper Hello Sharon! You referred that you had a “vision” of the future of industrial society. Could you point to me where this could be found?

Thanks, yooper

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By: Richard S. http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/01/the-great-big-food-kablooey-why-food-is-complicated/#comment-5088 Richard S. Thu, 01 May 2008 22:19:48 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/01/the-great-big-food-kablooey-why-food-is-complicated/#comment-5088 sgl - nicely put. I agree. Richard sgl - nicely put. I agree.

Richard

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By: sgl http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/01/the-great-big-food-kablooey-why-food-is-complicated/#comment-5086 sgl Thu, 01 May 2008 19:56:05 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/01/the-great-big-food-kablooey-why-food-is-complicated/#comment-5086 Sharon, I think you and Greer are essentially in "violent agreement" as they say. I just discovered Greer's site a week ago, thanks to a comment from someone on your blog here, and spent several evenings reading over the whole thing. I've been reading your blog for a year or two. I think Greer misinterpreted your "fast crash" as being "mad max within 3 yrs", which I don't think is what you're saying. My interpretation of what you've been saying is -- it'll be a long hard slog, probably with people at the margins slowly getting their power shut off, giving up meat for grains/beans, etc. I interpreted your recent "fast crash" comments as being "the first leg down is happening a lot faster than I originally assumed", not "we're headed all the way to primitive society right away" My understanding of Greer's perspective is that he's expecting a 100-200 yr decline, with drops followed by new semi-stable equilibriums perhaps even growth for a while, then new drops, etc. In other words, I think you've both misinterpreted the time frame the other was talking about, and exactly what was meant by "fast," etc. Where I think ya'll probably disagree is that you think the system should be completely overhauled, and will be forced to. My understanding of his view is that the "system" is a lot harder to change than it looks like. You might read his essay "Globalize Liberation review", which outlines is view of the "mythologies" that activists, corporations, and the American public are all acting out. He couches his arguments in terms of his Druid background, but if you look beyond that, I think you'll find his perspective interesting. (http://drivingsocrates.com/john-michael-greer) I enjoy reading both of ya'll. I think you're both saying very similar things. --sgl Sharon,
I think you and Greer are essentially in “violent agreement” as they say. I just discovered Greer’s site a week ago, thanks to a comment from someone on your blog here, and spent several evenings reading over the whole thing. I’ve been reading your blog for a year or two.

I think Greer misinterpreted your “fast crash” as being “mad max within 3 yrs”, which I don’t think is what you’re saying.

My interpretation of what you’ve been saying is — it’ll be a long hard slog, probably with people at the margins slowly getting their power shut off, giving up meat for grains/beans, etc. I interpreted your recent “fast crash” comments as being “the first leg down is happening a lot faster than I originally assumed”, not “we’re headed all the way to primitive society right away”

My understanding of Greer’s perspective is that he’s expecting a 100-200 yr decline, with drops followed by new semi-stable equilibriums perhaps even growth for a while, then new drops, etc.

In other words, I think you’ve both misinterpreted the time frame the other was talking about, and exactly what was meant by “fast,” etc.

Where I think ya’ll probably disagree is that you think the system should be completely overhauled, and will be forced to. My understanding of his view is that the “system” is a lot harder to change than it looks like. You might read his essay “Globalize Liberation review”, which outlines is view of the “mythologies” that activists, corporations, and the American public are all acting out. He couches his arguments in terms of his Druid background, but if you look beyond that, I think you’ll find his perspective interesting. (http://drivingsocrates.com/john-michael-greer)

I enjoy reading both of ya’ll. I think you’re both saying very similar things.

–sgl

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By: Richard in Albany-> Troy http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/01/the-great-big-food-kablooey-why-food-is-complicated/#comment-5085 Richard in Albany-> Troy Thu, 01 May 2008 19:42:54 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/01/the-great-big-food-kablooey-why-food-is-complicated/#comment-5085 I have a truly oddball and far-ranging comment. I just throw it in here to add to the stew: For the benefit of those people who might be attempting to tie food issues with pagan spirituality. Over the past couple of weeks there has been discussion in the Winter Witchcamp User Group about creating a "sacred food" path for spiritual reflection and work. Witchcamps are intensive workshops created by and for the use of individuals who are interested in using principles of Reclaiming Witchcraft as popularized by Starhawk (author of books The Spiral Dance, The Fifth Sacred Thing, The Earth Path, Twelve Wild Swans, etc.) The Winter Camp is in Minnesota--I've attended it twice and have found it pretty wonderful both times. It's mostly dedicated to the Norse pantheon, particuarly the goddess Freyja. Each year, a bunch of mostly grounded, intelligent and spiritual people seek out paths toward creating "their best and brightest future selves" in alignment with the earth and deities of their own recognition. (There's even an Elvis contingent, devoted to "the King" but paying attention to the acronym that is "His" name--Every Living Vessel Is Sacred!) The Winter camp has typically taken place in the 2nd or 3rd week of February, frequently over Presidents' Day Weekend. Provided things last that long--and I guess we can still be optimistic ( ;-) ), it looks like there will be a "kitchen" path this year for there's been quite a bit of interest, much of which has been sparked by a reading of Michael Pollan's amazing books. (Sidebar: I've slightly altered my moniker--I'll be moving later this month to Troy, NY, where I will have space to create a backyard garden. The landlords say there's enough land to "feed 3 families." I don't know about that, but I'm looking forward to learning about permaculture in real time, and with the support of a burgeoning community. There's a real juice in Troy that I sensed not too long after meeting my partner, who will be living 3 blocks away. It's a plus too that my new landlords are a gay couple--one of whom is a filmmaker(!) and both of whom are interested in some of the same things as I am. Yea!) I log into Mr. Greer's site as well as yours, and I find the interchange to be quite stimulating. He's also into the pagan thing--I have 4 or 5 books of his, and I'm interested in somehow merging my budding Feri training with Druidic/Nordic/Gnostic paths, maybe even a bit of Strega for I'm 1/4 Eye-talian (Ave Bruta Bestia!). Anyway, I find it fascinating about language and differences that are teh same and perceived similarities that reflect dissonance. As you identified, Sharon, you both agree about quite a bit. I wonder if somehow Mr. Greer seems to need to turn you into a 2nd pole of doomerism to counterbalance the other pole of the cornucopian cheerleaders, and that mayhap he reads into what you have to say from that bias? Personally, I don't get the sense of "the sky is falling" from you, Sharon--just a use of language that creates a reaction, and may sometimes be "extreme" from other people's lights. I perceive that you are identifying some things that are falling apart, and sifting through the debris to find what is salvagable as well as to perhaps stave off the throwing out of babies with the no longer potable bathwater. Perhaps he disagrees about wht is debris and what is not? It's an interesting exchange to discover convergence, and I get putting oneself along a continuum as a useful enterprise. My best friend said that he used to navigate between the poles of what he perceived his mother would do, vs. what his dad would choose, and then felt a bit at a loss when his dad passed on. It's important to find the real Chicken-littles out there to do that though, and they certainly do exist. I listened to a talk given by Catherine Fitts about coming clean regarding our feeding into the Tapeworm Economy. She says some things that I'm not sure what to make of, but I get the sense we probably agree more about things than disagree. Every day I stand under a tree and pray economic collapse--people may not like that I do this, but I feel the dirt I walk on calls out for this, and so I respond to the Drugh--meaning both tree and truth, for truth comes from trees. I also pray that people around me start to respond to what is, rather than what they wish for their lives to be, and that is also a hard prayer. It's the equivalent of "the only prayer that works:" May you know God (Herself)'s will for you. And I pray the same thing for myself. Still, the reason I bring up Ms. Fitts is because she's sifting through the debris of the financial planes and as part of that, she pointed out that maybe the Dow Jones shouldn't be summarily tossed aside. A lot of people's retirements ride on that. So perhaps I need to fine tune my own prayers. I will consider it. [Humility: Ain't ever what we think it is, and when we think we're being humble, you can sure as hell bet you're not.] Anyway, let me leave you with a song I wrote years ago. I have sung it at the Muddy Cup and at poetry readings around Albany--coming to Flavour Cafe at an Open Mic soon, no doubt, since I'll be living 'cross da street. Seems apropos somehow to this discussion, as I think apocalypse is one's choice--which is it to be revelation? The ripping away of the veil and of delusion? Or more than that? It's each person's call. She's the goddess of the crossroads, Hekate. And the doggie is sacred to her, fyi: "Hekate's Prayer for the Common American" by Richard Morell Here you lie in tatters, shredded from this vulture culture. Now I shall gather you up, and stitch together a quilt Could it be that you have gone too far? You've gone clean right off that edge! Centers have not held for such a long time now. You turn your heads bravely toward what you see down that road looming out in the distance-- hurricane forces, can't avoid them. Mindful furies demand your attention. The mechanized monsters pounding your faces into this crying earth! Here, oh here, here you are! At this crossroads--whither your annihilation? This white, white pained face remembers you I'm thinking of you I'm wondering about you I'm smiling at you I'm hoping, praying, keening-- what choice will you now make? I have a truly oddball and far-ranging comment. I just throw it in here to add to the stew:

For the benefit of those people who might be attempting to tie food issues with pagan spirituality. Over the past couple of weeks there has been discussion in the Winter Witchcamp User Group about creating a “sacred food” path for spiritual reflection and work. Witchcamps are intensive workshops created by and for the use of individuals who are interested in using principles of Reclaiming Witchcraft as popularized by Starhawk (author of books The Spiral Dance, The Fifth Sacred Thing, The Earth Path, Twelve Wild Swans, etc.) The Winter Camp is in Minnesota–I’ve attended it twice and have found it pretty wonderful both times. It’s mostly dedicated to the Norse pantheon, particuarly the goddess Freyja. Each year, a bunch of mostly grounded, intelligent and spiritual people seek out paths toward creating “their best and brightest future selves” in alignment with the earth and deities of their own recognition. (There’s even an Elvis contingent, devoted to “the King” but paying attention to the acronym that is “His” name–Every Living Vessel Is Sacred!) The Winter camp has typically taken place in the 2nd or 3rd week of February, frequently over Presidents’ Day Weekend.

Provided things last that long–and I guess we can still be optimistic ( ;-) ), it looks like there will be a “kitchen” path this year for there’s been quite a bit of interest, much of which has been sparked by a reading of Michael Pollan’s amazing books.

(Sidebar: I’ve slightly altered my moniker–I’ll be moving later this month to Troy, NY, where I will have space to create a backyard garden. The landlords say there’s enough land to “feed 3 families.” I don’t know about that, but I’m looking forward to learning about permaculture in real time, and with the support of a burgeoning community. There’s a real juice in Troy that I sensed not too long after meeting my partner, who will be living 3 blocks away. It’s a plus too that my new landlords are a gay couple–one of whom is a filmmaker(!) and both of whom are interested in some of the same things as I am. Yea!)

I log into Mr. Greer’s site as well as yours, and I find the interchange to be quite stimulating. He’s also into the pagan thing–I have 4 or 5 books of his, and I’m interested in somehow merging my budding Feri training with Druidic/Nordic/Gnostic paths, maybe even a bit of Strega for I’m 1/4 Eye-talian (Ave Bruta Bestia!). Anyway, I find it fascinating about language and differences that are teh same and perceived similarities that reflect dissonance. As you identified, Sharon, you both agree about quite a bit. I wonder if somehow Mr. Greer seems to need to turn you into a 2nd pole of doomerism to counterbalance the other pole of the cornucopian cheerleaders, and that mayhap he reads into what you have to say from that bias? Personally, I don’t get the sense of “the sky is falling” from you, Sharon–just a use of language that creates a reaction, and may sometimes be “extreme” from other people’s lights. I perceive that you are identifying some things that are falling apart, and sifting through the debris to find what is salvagable as well as to perhaps stave off the throwing out of babies with the no longer potable bathwater. Perhaps he disagrees about wht is debris and what is not? It’s an interesting exchange to discover convergence, and I get putting oneself along a continuum as a useful enterprise. My best friend said that he used to navigate between the poles of what he perceived his mother would do, vs. what his dad would choose, and then felt a bit at a loss when his dad passed on. It’s important to find the real Chicken-littles out there to do that though, and they certainly do exist.

I listened to a talk given by Catherine Fitts about coming clean regarding our feeding into the Tapeworm Economy. She says some things that I’m not sure what to make of, but I get the sense we probably agree more about things than disagree. Every day I stand under a tree and pray economic collapse–people may not like that I do this, but I feel the dirt I walk on calls out for this, and so I respond to the Drugh–meaning both tree and truth, for truth comes from trees. I also pray that people around me start to respond to what is, rather than what they wish for their lives to be, and that is also a hard prayer. It’s the equivalent of “the only prayer that works:” May you know God (Herself)’s will for you. And I pray the same thing for myself. Still, the reason I bring up Ms. Fitts is because she’s sifting through the debris of the financial planes and as part of that, she pointed out that maybe the Dow Jones shouldn’t be summarily tossed aside. A lot of people’s retirements ride on that. So perhaps I need to fine tune my own prayers. I will consider it.

[Humility: Ain’t ever what we think it is, and when we think we’re being humble, you can sure as hell bet you’re not.]

Anyway, let me leave you with a song I wrote years ago. I have sung it at the Muddy Cup and at poetry readings around Albany–coming to Flavour Cafe at an Open Mic soon, no doubt, since I’ll be living ‘cross da street. Seems apropos somehow to this discussion, as I think apocalypse is one’s choice–which is it to be revelation? The ripping away of the veil and of delusion? Or more than that? It’s each person’s call. She’s the goddess of the crossroads, Hekate. And the doggie is sacred to her, fyi:

“Hekate’s Prayer for the Common American” by Richard Morell

Here you lie in tatters, shredded from this vulture culture.
Now I shall gather you up, and stitch together a quilt

Could it be that you have gone too far?
You’ve gone clean right off that edge!
Centers have not held for such a long time now.
You turn your heads bravely toward
what you see down that road
looming out in the distance–
hurricane forces, can’t avoid them.
Mindful furies demand your attention.
The mechanized monsters pounding your faces
into this crying earth!

Here, oh here, here you are!
At this crossroads–whither your annihilation?
This white, white pained face
remembers you
I’m thinking of you
I’m wondering about you
I’m smiling at you
I’m hoping, praying, keening–
what choice will you now make?

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By: why food is complicated | Dismantle Civilisation http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/01/the-great-big-food-kablooey-why-food-is-complicated/#comment-5082 why food is complicated | Dismantle Civilisation Thu, 01 May 2008 17:40:15 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/01/the-great-big-food-kablooey-why-food-is-complicated/#comment-5082 [...] Another great article by Sharon Astyk. I have come to feel that the term “mess” does not adequately describe the complexity of our present food crisis. In fact, the whole thing reminds me of that old Calvin and Hobbes cartoon in which Calvin complains that scientists give things lame names, and that the “big bang” should be called “the great big space kablooey.” As I attempt to sort the present food situation into something that can be clearly articulated in our book, I find myself thinking that what we are experiencing might well be described as the “Great Big Food Kablooey.” [...] […] Another great article by Sharon Astyk. I have come to feel that the term “mess” does not adequately describe the complexity of our present food crisis. In fact, the whole thing reminds me of that old Calvin and Hobbes cartoon in which Calvin complains that scientists give things lame names, and that the “big bang” should be called “the great big space kablooey.” As I attempt to sort the present food situation into something that can be clearly articulated in our book, I find myself thinking that what we are experiencing might well be described as the “Great Big Food Kablooey.” […]

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By: MEA http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/01/the-great-big-food-kablooey-why-food-is-complicated/#comment-5079 MEA Thu, 01 May 2008 16:50:07 +0000 http://sharonastyk.com/2008/05/01/the-great-big-food-kablooey-why-food-is-complicated/#comment-5079 I agree that a lot of the questions of fast crash, slow crash, are we here, aren't we? come becuase we don't have defined terms. Does it take blood in the street outside our front door, or just blood in the streets far, far way? There can be huge shifts in how the world functions that leave some people untouched. I think we are here becuase I can't see a way out, only a way through, and while the way out might have caused suffering for some, I think the way through will, tragically, causing suffering for many. I agree that a lot of the questions of fast crash, slow crash, are we here, aren’t we? come becuase we don’t have defined terms. Does it take blood in the street outside our front door, or just blood in the streets far, far way? There can be huge shifts in how the world functions that leave some people untouched. I think we are here becuase I can’t see a way out, only a way through, and while the way out might have caused suffering for some, I think the way through will, tragically, causing suffering for many.

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