Dig This: Food, Philosophy and Beyond

We started “Dig This!” several years ago, focusing on food and gardens.  Then we stopped the column, and now we are resurrecting “Dig This!” with adding two authors as well as broadening the scope of topics.  We do believe that sustainability moves beyond food and growing food.  There are also cultural paradigms which dictate how we view the world, how we decide what is important, how we educate our youth, etc.

We believe we are all part of the web of life. How we perceive a drone attack in Afghanistan, the use of pesticides on our food, geoengineering, domestic violence, self-reliance as well as how to grow food, for example, all stem from our cultural paradigms.  We want to explore this web of life, links, ethics, values in a weekly column.  We may even include a poem or two.

I would like to introduce the four authors to you.  First, Jim Collins, PhD, Eco-Psychology; organic farmer; and ceremonial leader in Lakota and Laika traditions.  Second, Wayne Kessler, former owner of Shambani Organics; former Peace Corps volunteer; and founding member of Growing Local.  Third, Doug Bennett, local talk show host on KKRN, 88.5 FM; community organizer; and retired general contractor.  Fourth, me, Pamela Spoto, educator; poet; and lover of all living things.

I think I would like to continue this first column with addressing sustainability, a word that certainly gets pushed around a lot and means different things to different people.  I especially like the definition that asks us to consider the future.  In fact, some Native American traditions believe that as we make a decision today, we need to consider that decision’s impact on seven generations into the future. Now that is tough, isn’t it?  We are talking over two hundred years.  Considering we are the “me, me, me” culture, and for some, which I can’t understand, we should be the Ayn Rand culture—celebrating the virtue of selfishness.  ME. ME. ME.  “Give me what I want and give it to me now, right now, because I am the most important thing on the planet.  In fact, I am more important than any other human as well.” This sounds like a mental illness.

This me, me, me notion is certainly in direct contradiction to the idea of contemplating, yes, simply contemplating.  But furthermore, it is in contradiction to contemplating future generations and their rights to enjoy the beauties, joys, loveliness of Mother Earth. The virtue of selfishness stands in contrast to keeping the air clean, the water pure, the soil healthy because selfishness says let’s just use up the resources and make as much profit as we can because I am entitled; I am special; I am the most important being on Earth.

I wonder why we view humans as more important than the trees, the animals, the air, the water and all other life.  We are indeed just one aspect of this great web of life; we are simply part of Mother Earth.

I suggest we would be much better off in all ways if we started cultivating values that are life-giving not life-destroying.  We can teach compassion and courage, wisdom and simplicity, integrity and honesty—if we choose.  We can teach cooperation.  It appears that we value competition,  struggle, materialism, the military-industrial complex, guns.  And yet we say we want peace and happiness. It’s all very curious to me.

I think I will focus on how lightly I can walk on this precious earth.  There’s much to be done and much for me to do.  Sustainability is a beautiful word.

Pamela Spoto is an educator, poet, and lover of all living things.

Guest Speaker

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