Does a vast and potentially instructive irony lie in the fact that
Steve McFadden is doing a CSA book-signing at Barnes & Noble, the
MegaCorp That Devoured A Zillion Independent Bookstores? Or is this
my foolish-consistency-hobgoblin hog-tying my tiny mind? :^)
Barnes & Noble is to the book trade what Starbuck's is to coffee
houses: devouring local businesses and gorging themselves on
impulse shoppers. (As a WebHead friend said the other day as we
perused a wall of brick-thick "How to use Windows" volumes in a
Silicon Valley computer bookstore, "Buy a book, kill a tree!" But I
...oughtn't we sustaggies use sustainable ag to teach a
progressive/local ethic of communication and business as well as a
progressive/local ethic of land use and community? And to challenge
things like the lifestyle of the shopping mall and the mega-store?
Picture it: people come to the local shopping mall's Barnes & Noble
to talk about sustainability and local economy and a self-sustaining
food system? Tell me, please, that the authors are going to raise
this as an issue at their reading! And will ask those who attend the
reading to shop henceforth at local independent bookstores.
[Regional Food Systems axiom 3.578: Biting the hand that feeds one
can be a good first step toward feeding oneself.]
Then there's this:
> "The movement is continuing to grow," McFadden says. "People who
> care about their food, the environment, and their children, ought
> to take a close look at CSA and what it can do for them and the
> community where they live. It would work great on Long Island."
Are the authors and the publisher promoting this book and CSA in the
Bronx too? Lots of open space there for gardens. Last I was thru
they'd torn down a whole buncha buildings. Big empty lots. Hungry
people. Not much by way of stores. And need for community axis.
And for green.
Barnes & Noble got a store there? You bet your boopkey they don't.
Disclaimer: there's nothing personal in my comments. Ya see, I saw
one too many upscale suburban Madisonians drinking coffee in shiny
new Sport Utility Vehicles with environmentalist bumperstickers
parked outside the whole foods (small letters) store this a.m. I'm
not saying that's what Steven and Trauger are doing...I've got my
red flags up, is all. Sure, you can sell the Obvious to the Affluent
and call it social change. But they'll buy something else when they
get tired of arugula and root vegetables.
In my not so humble opinion, any CSA member who has a household
income of over $X per year--or who owns one of those bleeping SUVs or
has more than 500 square feet of lawn--should be required by the
CSA's formers/farmers to provide a half-share for people with low
incomes. $100-300?--that's not many tanks of gas to run around
suburbia at 13 mpg or whatever the riding lawn mower gets these days.
Seems a small tithe in return for the privilege of choosing
excellent food and the wisdom to know the difference.
Of course, that may well be akin to selling sustainable ag as
indulgences for environmental and other sins (SUVs excluded), but
somebody's gotta lure the next Martin Luther up to the door, demmit.
Michele Gale-Sinex, communications manager
Center for Integrated Ag Systems
UW-Madison College of Ag and Life Sciences
Voice: (608) 262-8018 FAX: (608) 265-3020
It is necessary for me to establish a winner image.
Therefore, I have to beat somebody. --Richard Nixon
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