Our current lifestyles have made us dependent on megalithic corporations that control not only our lives, but the actions of government. This insight is becoming more and more salient in the American Psyche, as evidenced by the "Occupy Movements." Yet, the question remains, are the Occupy Movements enough to snap us out of a centuries old pattern of surrendering our lives to the perceived higher powers of Church, State, Land Owners, Federal Governments, Corporations and Banks.
Interestingly, Henry Kissinger once said, "Control the oil and you control nations. Control the food, and you control people."
Do we want to be controlled? If not, then what do we need to do to reclaim our freedom? Obviously, if we follow Kissinger's logic, we need to control our food.
This article is the first of a series of articles dedicated to sustainable living. As Kissinger's line reflects, the first step to a sustainable lifestyle is to take charge of our food. Independence does not begin on a battlefield or on Wall Street.
It begins in our kitchens and on our lands.
The article is written by my wife, Meredith Hall, who sits on the board of "Food For Maine's Future." The article will soon appear in their publication:"Saving Seeds".
"I hold in my hand the source of all health and wealth. It is a seed. In early November I harvested this one, along with about a dozen others, from the best of our 2011 pumpkins, separated it from the gook, washed it, and set it aside in a plate to dry. Next Spring, after the last frost, I will plant it and its companions in the bed where this year our peas and beans grew. Now I will put it in an envelope labeled "Pumpkin Seeds for 2012" and save it in a dry, dark, cool closet in our guest bedroom. But first I must admire it, "temper it with prayer and song" as David Mallett says in his Garden Song.
Why do I say this simple seed is the source of our health and wealth? It will proliferate. It will nourish and sustain us in a way that no thousand dollar bill can. Think about what Wall Street calls wealth. How do you go from $1 TO $1,000,000? By adding zeroes, "zilch", nada! Such fortune is an illusion. It is generated by the click of a computer and printed on paper whenever a "loan" is made, creating one more poor debtor and "wealth" for one more wily creditor. "Money doesn't grow on trees," the saying goes. No, but the true wealth that feeds, clothes, and shelters us does! Consider the wisdom of this Native American parable:
A young boy walks with his grandfather through their orchard. He spies an apple that looks delicious, but he is too small to reach it. He complains of being so small. His grandfather picks the apple and uses his pocket knife to slice it open. Handing the apple halves to his grandson, he asks, "How many Count the seeds are in this apple?" Obligingly, the small boy counts them. His grandfather takes one of the seeds, holds it in his open palm, and wonders aloud, "How many apples are in this tiny seed?" Ah! The boy gets it.
The grandfather has illustrated the great wealth and security that surrounds us in nature if we will only participate in it. The boy realizes the power and potential in small things that I am realizing anew today as I hold this pumpkin seed in my hand.
Of course, we cannot horde this wealth or "bank on it." Monsanto and friends are trying that in the Svalbard Global Seed Vault on a Norwegian island in the remote Arctic"just in case their frankenseeds go awry. Seeds are place-based. They are adapted to the microclimate and habitat in which they form. They are meant to be grown out year to year in symbiotic community with their evolving ecosystem. They are the miracle carriers of the cycle of life in which we all participate.
That's why they're so yummy and nutritious. Ask my grandchildren as they gobble up some of the salted and roasted seeds. Ask my husband and me as we savor the fruit from another such seed. Our gut reaction of pleasure and fulfillment is no accident. Like this tiny seed, it is part of what keeps the whole system of health and wealth--our own and our environment's--up and running. So I now say "thank you" to this tiny seed, while also appreciating that its fate today lies in our hands.
Like many others, I am slow to "get" the new/ancient wisdom of our times. A few years ago I would have composted this seed; a decade ago I would have thoughtlessly dumped it in the garbage. Not now! So as many I admire occupy Wall Street, I am occupied putting my gardens to bed for the winter and saving seeds such as this. Both ways reflect the newly re-emerging ancient wisdom. May it thrive."
For more information of Food For Maine's Future, see http://savingseeds.wordpress.com/about/
For a video on saving seeds, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z2qP5ULJ69o