Monday, February 27, 2012

Occupy Our Food Supply - Herbs First

Beginning the cure.
I admit it, I'm more of a slowcial media person than a twitterbug, and so it is that I'm only finding out late on the day itself that February 27th is Occupy Our Food Supply day, when we stand up to Monsanto, Cargill, ADM and the very few others who control most of the seed and crops. And, I guess I should mention, the vast market in chemicals that most food growers use.

So what can one blogger do? Coincidentally, I planted 8 more blueberry bushes today, but it'll be a while before production outstrips the capacity for the kids to eat them before they make it into pies, much less the freezer. I could write about problems with the food system, but plenty of people have done that. I might even conjure up a pipeline of dreams about living off the agribusiness grid, about a self-feeding urban greenstead, but who am I kidding, I still use stores.

Or I could just talk about the one part of my life in which I exercise food autonomy: herbs. People with space might've gone for a staple-ish staff of life, some storable starch on the potato to quinoa continuum. Canning mavens may've favored veggies or fruit sufficient to put up a year's supply. And of course, there are the chicken yarders, beginning and ending with the egg. 

But me, I likes me some spice, some flavoring. And, I am kinda lazy. So at this point, all the self-sufficiency I can point to is on the herban front. I buy no garlic, no oregano, no thyme, no mint, no chives. It's a small success, but I grow enough of these to eat all I want (and I want a lot, profligate herber that I am).

There are some things that would be hard to grow here in Olympia--tropical exotica, and some years even a decent chile--but for those this town is lucky enough to have Buck's spice shop, where you can get just about anything you can think of, from local alder-smoked salt to finely tuned curries, not to mention some fine conversation. They do mail order, but I'm lucky enough to be able to walk in, sniff around til I find what I want, and buy however much or little my taste-buds desire. If you read my blogs, you know I'm no shiller or plugger, but in this case it makes sense to send readers to this finest of spice ladies. 

Are the agri-giants are quaking in their boots, knowing that I grow my own herbs and buy spices from a freedom-fooder? Probably not, but my autonomy is mine, not a foil to their hegemony. Small a step as it is, growing my own herbs is a move away from McCormick monotony and corporate subjectitude. I'm  getting closer to doing the same with growing tomatoes (weather permitting, I should get there this year), and will keep buying as much as I can of everything else from local farmers. Maybe I'll even get off my ass and start making my own salt this year, something that hasn't happened in the years since I stopped working in Kona. 

Life will continue to taste good, and the big boys will get an iota less. I may not be an important voice, Pollanating the culture, making corporations Shiva, but I do what I can, and for me, that begins with aiming my money where it benefits farmers most, and starting on the road to self-sufficiency with some tasty flavors. 


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