Monday, July 20, 2009

Car free Sunday/Food Inc.

Sarah and I got back Saturday from a trip to Southern California where I taught a Soundabet workshop for 55 teachers. We drove there because of all the materials I had to distribute. The round trip was a little more than 1,000 miles and 18 hours time behind the wheel. The drive along the California coast is beautiful, but exhausting.

We don't very often spend that much time in cars, so yesterday when we wanted to see a movie over in Santa Rosa (about 7 miles away) we decided to ride the bus over there and walk home.

The movie, Food Inc., is a documentary about the changes that have occurred since WWII in how food is produced in the US. It focuses on the many unintended consequences of those changes and their deleterious effects on our health, our ecology, and on the well-being of animals.

It's a powerful film and echoes many of the messages of my favorite summer reading, An Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan.

We enjoyed our 7-mile, 2-hour walk home. We talked about the movie (it's a bit depressing) and discussed ways we can respond more fully to this information. We appreciated the many things that we're already doing.

There's a website that provides more information about food-related issues. Ignorance is NOT bliss in regard to the food industry.

I recommend people who plan on eating food sometime in the future to visit

And, if you're able, take a walk outdoors.

The beauty of Laguna, the open space between Santa Rosa and Sebastopol, restored our spirits.


richard nichols said...

Nothing like a good walk for the spirit when you need to be with some one or just on your own

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Richard—

As we got talking about seeing this movie and when and how we would get there, Sarah asked, "Well how would Richard and Brenda approach this?" So, you walking gurus have had an effect on the world.


Delwyn said...

Hello Dan

That is along labour of love...Was the seminar appreciated?

How lovely to walk home from the movies and chat... and I also love walking and not feeling the need to chat - that comfortable feeling you have with a loved one where there is no need to fill the space...

What are these paddocks used for?

Happy days

Dan Gurney said...

I was told that all but one of the participants rated the seminar as excellent, the sole other evaluation came in as "very good" so, yes, it was successful.

The open space between Santa Rosa and Sebastopol is used mainly to grow grasses, mainly alfalfa and hay. These crops drink up the treated waste water from Santa Rosa's water treatment plant.

Margaret Pangert said...

Hi Dan~ That photo is beautiful! What mountain range would that belong to? Cascade, Sierra Nevada?
I'm sure everyone was quite taken with the Soundabet. The music accompanying it makes it a fun and not-too-intimidating learning tool.
I remember growing up eating only "real" food. We butchered our own chickens, cattle, swine, and sheep. Even cheese was made from a co-op dairy in Gerber. Now I see they're raising wild rice in Fall River Mills (near Lassen). We had a well for drinking water and ditches for irrigating from tributaries of the Sacramento River. That's why I love to see these Farmers' Markets springing up. I can imagine what you must have felt like watching the movie. Hard to watch, but you're right: Ignorance is not bliss. Thanks, Dan.

Dan Gurney said...

Hi Margaret,

The mountain is Mt. Saint Helena, the highest mountain in the immediate San Francisco Bay Area. It's beautiful up there.

Both the Food Inc. movie and the book, Omnivore's Dilemma feature Joel Salatin's Polyface farm which sounds a lot like the farms you grew up in. Old-fashioned farming like that is very appealing to me, and, sadly, verrry different from the CAFOs and industrial animal plants that capitalism has brought into existence.

Reya Mellicker said...

It's about time I came here for a visit!

Sebastapol, eh? Do you know Anne Hill? She and her kids lived in Sebastopol for years. It's such a beautiful hamlet.

A long walk sounds like a great idea after that film. Even the idea of "producing" food, rather than GROWING food, says a lot about how we've come to think about it. I worked for Whole Foods for a few years, read Michael Pollan, and wrestled philosophically with my place in the food chain.

Glad to know you're out there, blogging, thinking and taking nice long walks. Bravo!!

Dan Gurney said...

Hi, Reya--

And welcome to Mindful Heart. Yes, Sebastopol. I'm deeply into it; my wife's the Mayor.

Pollan's got me thinking about my place in the food chain, too. I've been pretty close to vegetarian for decades, but I'm feeling a shift coming on. Eating consciously is probably most important of all. And your post today on awareness of awareness and the comments about the sentience of plants has me thinking harder than ever. Like Delwyn, I think of plants as very noble beings, so why is eating plants holier than animals? I'm not at all sure.