Friday, 02 May 2014 15:11
By Joe Romano,
What's Goin' On?
I just wanna ask a question
Who really cares?
To save a world in despair
Who really cares?
— Marvin Gaye
In 1971, the world seemed to be in a dangerous place. Richard Nixon was president, nuclear proliferation was on the rise, and the Pentagon Papers had been released, revealing corruption at the highest levels of government. Any leaders who had offered hope, like John and Bobby Kennedy, Malcolm X, or Martin Luther King, Jr., had come to shocking and violent ends. The Vietnam War had been raging for over ten years, and Lieutenant William Calley had been convicted of murder for leading the My Lai Massacre in which over 500 unarmed villagers, including many infants and children, were brutally massacred. Catastrophic oil spills off the California coast, smog clouds over our cities, and harmful additives to our foods were the dirty footprints of our path to the future. Protests and riots were commonplace in overcrowded, drug-ridden cities. To many, the future looked bleak.
That summer of 1971, Marvin Gaye released "What's Going On," an album that critics, artists, and public surveys worldwide consider one of the greatest ever made. He did so against the advice of his record company, which preferred that he continue writing love songs. To that, Gaye responded, "With the world exploding around me, how am I supposed to keep singing love songs?"
With very similar intentions, the earliest members of a burgeoning food co-op in Ithaca, NY were crafting their response to a world gone awry. Marvin Gaye would describe his motivations in creating a vision of change: "I didn't know how to fight before, but now I think I do. ... I'm not a painter. I'm not a poet. But I can do it with music." At GreenStar we have the same vision, and are fighting the same fight. We do it with food.
Friday, 02 May 2014 15:08
In February, GreenStar Community Projects (or GSCP, GreenStar's non-profit affiliate) hired Holly Payne as Coordinator. We conducted an interview with her in April about her role at GSCP and the organization's future. For more information about GSCP and its projects, visit greenstarcommunityprojects.org.
GreenLeaf: For those who aren't familiar with it, what is GSCP's mission?
Holly Payne: GSCP's mission is to help create a sustainable food system at local and regional levels that promotes health, equity, and community control of essential resources. GSCP is the non-profit, tax-exempt affiliate of GreenStar Co-op.
GL: What is the current focus of your work for GSCP?
HP: GSCP supports the growing movement for food justice and sustainability by connecting diverse initiatives across the community and region. Through networking we provide opportunities for engagement and collaboration. We run a Community Dinners Initiative in which local hosts offer small, informal dinners from their homes, to bring disenfranchised individuals together in a conversation about food access and equity.
We have built an active network that meets regularly to connect all players in our local food system — we have hosted eight sessions, each one addressing different focal building blocks of the food system. More than 200 participants have helped identify critical gaps that keep us from effectively moving ahead and one salient problem seems to be coordinated communication. Ongoing conversations (like those at the Community Dinners and during networking sessions) are critical to our success. We also need a forum to keep us connected in between sessions and dinners.
We're working on a new website to connect all players to a just, sustainable food system. This effort will help bridge the communication gap identified in our networking sessions, through interactive media that engages participants in the ongoing conversation.
Thursday, 03 April 2014 18:36
For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love.
— Carl Sagan
By Joe Romano,
On Dec. 7, 1972, the people of Earth saw something that none of us had ever experienced in all of the hundreds of thousands of years we have been in existence. It was the first full-view image of Earth, taken from space. Quickly dubbed the "Big Blue Marble," the photo accomplished something that nothing prior had. It made concrete the concept that we were all citizens of a single place — our home, the Earth. Our petty squabbles with one another, our utter waste of resources, and our mass-production of countless toxins were instantly placed in an all-too-finite context.
There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.
These were the words of an esteemed Ithacan, and a leading scientist of the era, Carl Sagan, who made it his life's work to educate Earthlings that we are global citizens, indeed, that we are citizens of the cosmos.
The photo of our Earth came at an important time and became an important visual icon. Because we were becoming aware of ourselves as citizens of one planet, tiny and vulnerable, the 1970s would become the decade of the Earth. It was as if we could see ourselves, floating alone in a vast, empty, and indifferent universe, and like the technological teenagers we were, we finally realized the value of cleaning up our room.
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By Laura Buttenbaum,
What is a co-op? This seemingly straightforward question can elicit a wide range of responses, from visceral and intrinsic to completely organizational and economic. According to the International Cooperative Association, "A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons unite...