Friday, January 18, 2008

Why Yes

This week we had a two-day interdisciplinary studies conference called “Thought for Food.” Along with reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, it has gotten me thinking a lot about food security, global food issues, and the everyday habits of putting food on the table for my family to eat. It’s great to be in a place where such important questions get asked, great to come home with my head buzzing so full of ideas I can hardly sleep. But making the leap from a lot of great ideas to something that gets put into action is a tough one. Is it even possible?

At the evening panel discussion, Cathy Campbell (one of the conference speakers and author of Stations of the Banquet) was talking about how often we get bogged down in all the reasons we can’t do something. Instead, she suggested, we should focus on the “why yes” list—all the reasons it’s the right thing to do, all the reasons it’s a meaningful and necessary thing to do—and that, perhaps, can get us past the line of rational and accusing reasons “why not.”

Is it possible to change something so huge and so deeply entrenched as our food system? Is it possible to keep working for change in this or any area without getting discouraged, defeated, exhausted? Is it possible for a person to change, for a community to change, for the world to change? Of all the words I heard this week, the two that stick in my mind are the two that best answer these questions and the two I will hold on to as I come against all pulls to the contrary.

Is it possible? Why, yes.

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