With the coming of Thanksgiving, the biggest food related day of the year in our region, it seems appropriate to talk about Sustainable Glasgow and our mission to create a durable, sustainable farm and food economy for this place we call home. Due to divine intervention, or perhaps due to complete dumb luck, my family will be enjoying what we have come to know as a traditional Thanksgiving feast. We will eat too much and then spend the afternoon in satisfied slumber, generally oblivious to several truths that are easily unraveled by doing a bare minimum amount of research and thought.
There are far too many families in our community who have neither been adequately blessed with food on this one day, nor with opportunity on the rest of the days. We need to do more to change that and Sustainable Glasgow is trying. Far too much of the food that the lucky ones will enjoy on Thanksgiving is not real food, but rather an amalgamation of “food-like substances” and diesel fuel and petroleum based fertilizers and herbicides and pesticides and exotic pharmaceuticals. We need to do more to change that too. We have this crazy idea that both of these problems might be hit with the same rock.
Our Thanksgiving, thanks to this summer’s Bounty of the Barrens Market and the vendors who produced the food in cooperation with the sun and the miracles contained in our region’s soil, will include green beans and corn and sweet potatoes that we purchased and preserved by canning and freezing. I wish our feast also included a heritage turkey that was raised and harvested here. I wish we could have bread made from locally grown grains that were milled into flour by a locally owned and operated mill and then baked into perfection by a local person in his or her local bakery. I wonder if we couldn’t also have a local meat processing facility where animals lovingly raised by our local farmers could go straight to local butcher shops without spending time in the filth of a concentrated animal feed lot operation in Oklahoma, Texas, or Colorado. These wishes could come true now couldn’t they?
While we are wishing, wouldn’t it be great to start the Christmas shopping season off at local stores and shops built around our town center, where our homes are, instead of off in a distant big box store surrounded by a flotilla of cars and trucks bobbing upon a sea of blacktop? We dream of a Glasgow with jobs created by those businesses that we could easily support if we could only break free from our habits of shopping elsewhere. We see that bakery and coffee shop for weary shoppers to frequent after visiting the local art gallery, bicycle shop, bookstore, and toy store. We are crazy enough to envision the soon to be unemployed folks at Carhartt coming together to create their own local clothing manufacturing facility and we see local shops selling that clothing at local stores where local folks see the simple wisdom of purchasing goods made by their neighbors, even if they are not the cheapest thing available.
We have big dreams and maybe they are a bit crazy, but are they as crazy as thinking we could operate our own utilities, build our own cable system, operate our own hospital and medical community? Hardly. These are simple dreams compared to what we have already been able to accomplish here. Today we have two really big problems sitting right next to each other. Problem number one is the lack of a sustainble food supply. We are counting on distant factories and cheap diesel fuel for our daily bread. The second is that we are experiencing spiraling unemployment as distant boards of directors make decisions without regard for the damage being done to Glasgow’s economy. These two problems can be hit with the same stone. Come on along with Sustainable Glasgow as we take aim on these problems.