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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Heading into the Bush

I’m sorry that I’ve been away, but things are happening. It’s a new game now.

In just under a month my tenure as a 2013 Bush Fellow begins. (see This will give me resources to learn what I need to be the leader who can pull off things like the Deep Winter Producers’ Association. I’ll be taking classes, travelling, studying, and discussing things with advisors and mentors.

Those advisors have warned me that in early July, about two weeks after the official Fellowship period begins, I will be inundated with requests from people who want me to work on projects with them. They will mean well, most of them, but they will drag me off in unfruitful directions. As one advisor said, “Don’t go off chasing rabbits. Remember your goals.”

I had a good example yesterday. A man that I met at a recent meeting called. He was gushingly enthusiastic about a project involving lots of farmers with big greenhouses and centralized storage facilities. I interrupted, and something like this ensued:

“I’m not interested in building a ‘shadow version’ of the Industrial Food System.”

“Why not? It’s going to be with us for a long time.”

“No, it’s going to collapse in fifteen to twenty years, maybe sooner. It’s based on too many contradictions and false assumptions.”

<Several seconds of silence>

“I hope that we’re not all stuck eating rice and beans.”

“We might be, but that would actually be a good-case scenario. My mission is to equip people for what’s coming.”

We concluded with the usual “good lucks” and “you’ll hear from mes.” I probably won’t hear from him.

I told Ken Meter ( ) about this. He liked my “disarming tactic.”

Not only do I not have time to chase rabbits, none of us do. We can’t afford to waste our time and resources on the interminable gabfests that mostly just fill up reams of newsprint with notes and drawings, or posters with little colored dots. All of us concerned with local foods have experienced these. It can feel a bit like this scene from Monty Python’s Life of Brian-

Methods for building our resilience exist. I invented some of them, and want to learn about others. Many people have rolled up their sleeves to do good work. We have plenty of reason for Hope- not hope of preserving The System, but of building something new to succeed it. We can do this. BUT, it’s time for action, not discussions that should have been had fifteen years ago. Wish me well, and come along for the ride- we’re actually going someplace.