Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Going Backwards To Move Forward (Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Ubuntu)

Went  to a get together in South Sacramento yesterday afternoon of people interested in improving access to healthy, fresh foods in that area. Sponsored by a group called Ubuntu Green. I figured Ubuntu Green was a person and at first I even thought I met him at the conference but that turned out to be incorrect. I thought I was meeting Alvin Ubuntu Green.  But it actually was Alvin of Ubuntu Green. Ubuntu, it turns out,  is a South African term used to denote how people depend on each other to build their future and generally get along in this life and this group has applied the "ubuntu" concept to "green" goals, thus the name of their organization. They are gathering people together to try to gel some kind of plan for making South Sacramento a healthier place for the people who live there. Their challenge is getting the people who live there to buy into the concept that something can be done and then encouraging them to do it. I wish them great success.

I, for one, would sure like to be a part of their vision. I dream of driving a truck filled with my heirloom veggies from street to street in that neighborhood, selling great produce and maybe even some other staples, like milk and eggs and bread, to residents at a reasonable price, competing with all the fast food outlets selling overpriced and unhealthy, but tasty, junk food. Mine would be a rolling farmers market, if you will. Something to help people back into a world where we make our own food from raw materials.  And where everything we eat doesn't have to be peppered with preservatives and sealed in a hard-to-open plastic bag for extended shelf life. To some people it may sound like going backwards in time but it is my belief that sometimes we must go backward to go forward. And this is one of those times.

I noticed this in a conversation with a person from the Sacramento City Unified School District: She said their kitchen help is used to getting everything ready to go: Open a bag of perfectly clean lettuce and voila, a salad. Etc. Etc. Buying from small farms would mean having to clean lettuce, wash potatoes, scrub carrots. How could they do it? Although sharing, and promoting, the Ubuntu Green vision, she knew it would be impossible to wash lettuce and scrub potatoes in a kitchen that puts together lunches for 700 with a staff of four (full and part-time). And she is right! My thought: they need more employees! Work is good! The extra employees would earn money and spend it in OUR community. And small scale is better than giant corporate farms. The profits of giant corporate farms end up far from here and I suspect whoever cleaned that lettuce or potato for the giant corporate farm got minimum wage and no health insurance. It may even have been a machine, not a human. And sure, the farm may be in Coachella or Kingsburg or Kern, but the corporation is probably based in Delaware! The owners and stockholders reside far away in huge houses behind locked gates. Why give them all the profits? We have people right here in River City who need jobs and health insurance. If you ask me, every bag of fumigated, perfectly clean lettuce we buy reduces our ubuntu, if only a little tiny bit.

Have a great day!

No comments:

Post a Comment