For the next generation to create a separation between the people on Main Street and the people on Wall Street — or for that matter, Capitol Hill – we need to grow more of our own food locally alongside an independent, sustainable energy system. Without bureaucracy, corporate subsidies and an inefficient welfare system, we can be free to make genuine choices and have a positive impact on our community.
It won’t just appear — it will take years to grow. But we must start somewhere.
Any garden is a great place to start, because it immediately removes you from the big government, big oil arrangement to ship subpar food thousands of miles across the country and the world.
This arrangement leads to big money for big business. That business corrupts our political system, as companies spend part of their excess profits buying congressmen or hiring them as lobbyists when they lose an election.
More than half of our of so-called representatives in Congress are millionaires, and 50 percent go on to take lobbying jobs that pay an average of 1,456 percent better than public service compared to just 3 percent of politicians who became lobbyists in 1974.
This arrangement, along with armies of lobbyists, paves the way for massive tax breaks for big oil and big farmers, hidden costs behind our decision to buy from chain grocers or to eat fast food, making food appear cheaper on the shelves because the money has already been taken out of our paychecks.
Limiting our dependence upon the government/energy system is the first step to realizing our potential freedom, but the effects will all take place behind the scenes.
You will, however, immediately notice a difference in the quality of food. Derek Dollar is head chef at Milton’s Cuisine — perhaps the only restaurant in Georgia that controls the entire food process by growing their garden in an adjacent property, 800 Mayfield Road in Milton.
“It was like a whole new world I was opened up to,” said Dollar, recalling his moment of awakening. “Before it was just, you call somebody, place and order and here are your beautiful tomatoes in a box. But this is a lot better because, for example, here, when you cut a cucumber open you can see the water dripping out of it. You don’t get that from the store.”
You also don’t get to interact with Boy Scout troops who interact with the garden, hundreds of elementary schools students to help on Earth Day, nor do customers, sipping on their wine, get to walk down to watch the veggies grow before dinner.
The process of getting our food slows progress and limits our interaction with each other.
It is vital to consider the side-effects every time we buy food. We must choose whether to support oil, chemicals and corporate lobbyists or local farmers with a vested interest in the community.
James Carr is working on a book about the local, sustainable movement called “The Jig Is Up.” For more information, visit thejigisup89.com.