Sunday, March 16, 2008

Eat the Sky--Seattle Tilth's 30th Anniversary

With a title like "Eat the Sky" for Seattle Tilth's 30th Anniversary celebration, I was looking forward to an evening of inspiration and a lot of talking about veggie gardens. Anna Lappe' spoke more about the politics of food and how conventional food production leads to climate change.

Let me back up here. Frances Moore Lappe' wrote Diet for a Small Planet. Anna is her daughter and follows the same theme as her mom writing about social change, globalization, and the politics of food. The two have co-written Hope's Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet. Anna's most recent book is Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen which combines the issues behind industrial agriculture and seasonal menus from chef Bryant Terry.

There was talk of abandoned lots and crumbling baseball diamonds being converted into veggie gardens. But there was a lot more about the beef industry, the grocery industry, and biofuel production requiring more fossil fuels along with all the tweakings of statistics to make these sound better than they actually are. I felt like everyone there knew this already. It reminded me of Alice Water's bringing the concept of slow food to California cuisine--a concept that is over 30 years old. Not that it's passe', but it's not revolutionary as it was in the 1970s.

What really made me stop and think this evening was City Councilmember Richard Conlin promoting the Food System Sustainability and Security Resolution. It made me think more about Seattle's growth and how our city is becoming more dense. More high rises and condos are being built. Although I am not opposed to high- density living, it does mean less space for one's own garden. P-Patches, community gardens, and parks will be more important than ever for the quality of our lives. In my neighborhood, the Columbia City Farmer's Market has one more year in its current location. In 2010, they will start building condos where the Columbia Shopping Plaza now stands. I heard on the last day of the market last fall, they were still looking for a new location. If our market disappears, the closest market by car will be West Seattle. By bus, it's Capitol Hill. Both are inconvenient for anyone who lives in the south end.

I'll definitely be writing to my Councilmembers about this, and I'll participate in the Friends of the Columbia City Farmer's Market. Meanwhile, I count myself super lucky that I have a little spot in Seattle where I can grow my own organic food.

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