Author, academic, and farmer, Wendell Berry once wrote, “A good community ensures itself by trust, by good faith and good will, by mutual help. A good community, in other words, is a good local economy.”
My morning started out nicely with these words of wisdom from Mr. Berry and so I thought I would share them with you. It is a nice reminder of what is at the center of much of this talk about urban agriculture: community. There are countless reasons to grow your own food; many of us are intimately familiar with the list. We grow our own food because we love gardening, we want our families to eat the healthiest food they can, or because some of us lack fresh produce in our neighborhoods and this way we can access it. Yet, one thing that is sometimes left out of the discussion is the fact that by growing and buying local you are, in effect, rallying around your community. Since I’m only 25 I can’t in good conscience make statements like, “Back in the day communities were closer- they supported each other,” but, wait, I just did. I know this is inarguably an idealized notion of history but I still desire the work of neighbors caring for each another just like the March family.
This isn’t to say that people aren’t doing great things for one another all of the time. It’s just that as a whole, I just think that we could be doing it better. Everyday there are new ideas generated with regards to food security. New and creative ways of growing and feeding people are constantly being realized. Let’s come together around these ideas. Why not continue to build community with neighbors, co-workers, friends, and family by feeding and loving one another, not only on specific holidays but all year round. At the risk of sounding like a D -rated preacher I’ll end by asking that you enjoy your day and maybe take a few moments to consider Wendell, remembering that you as the individual always matters to the whole.