Saturday, September 26, 2009
USDA Leafy Green Marketing Agreement (part one)
The USDA Leafy Green Marketing Agreement
A Sociological Overview
For those of you who have regularly been following my Green Collar Blue Industrialist blog and have taken the time to read the many essays I write and post on a fairly regular basis, I’m sure you know that my essays span a broad spectrum of both industrial and social issues pertaining to the successful development of our nations emerging 21st century green economy. The reason why my essays span a broad spectrum of issues is simple, I have a broad spectrum mind. Because of this, I have a remarkable capacity to address a multitude of 21st century green industrial, social as well as economic issues simultaneously.
Along with my essays are links to green websites and blogs created by people who also have broad spectrum minds and who also address a broad spectrum of 21st century green industrial, social and economic issues on their own green websites and blogs.
I believe in associating myself with people with broad spectrum minds, who in thinking this way, enable broad spectrum results to collectively unfold. As I believe in our potential as 21st century Americans, so do they, and, as I have and continue to take the time to understand the goals of those who like me feel the same, my essays’ hopefully, express that belief in a most powerful, compassionate and at times confrontational manner. As national victory comes from rational national discourse, proactive confrontation does at times give birth to new American progress.
Having said this, the focus of this particular essay is on the efforts of the Wisconsin based Cornucopia Institute, its’ co-founder Mark Kastell and the efforts of the United States Department of Agriculture who in working with many others are hoping to define a set of regulatory parameters together in the hopes of defining a universal language that successfully governs the rapidly maturing organic American agricultural marketplace.
Mark’s particular focus is on the rights of small American farmers. Mark’s particular concern is that those rights, defined as the ability of local and regional networks of family owned organic vegetable as well as dairy farmers to compete successfully in an open American agricultural marketplace will once again be supplanted by the larger corporate interests the USDA is also weighing as it considers this new legislation.
Essentially, Mark Kastell and his associates at Cornucopia are bringing up a very valid argument that unless the USDA structures this initiative properly, there is a very real possibility that those of us throughout America that have acquired vast amounts of highly educated knowledge on the subject of organic nutrition and who possess the expertise to produce an entire new century of regionally grown produce and dairy products quite capable of feeding America in a much more conscious manner run the distinct risk of being set aside by the traditional corporate producers of boxed and canned food that has over the course of more than a half century not only added to our nation’ health problems but added considerably more to our nation’s much larger economic problems.
While the affordability of organic food is one thing and the regulation of such food is still another, as an architectural designer, master builder and “urban farming planner”, my contribution to this subject is a bit broader in scope.
Within this vision of organic farming and the subsequent USDA regulation of the same, the alternative forms of sustainable energy that will make 21st century, technologically advanced American architecture viable is precisely what will make the regulation of regionally based organic farms possible and regionally based organic farming highly profitable.
If every regionally based organic farm and food processing facility were equipped with advanced farming technologies, both the growth and the regulation of organic farm products would most certainly take on a whole new industrial portrait. Thus, this essay is a socioeconomic blueprint designed to enhance that industrial portrait.
Due to the length and substantive nature of this particular essay, I will be dividing its’ content into three separate blog posts
• The USDA Leafy Green Marketing Agreement
A Sociological Overview
• The National Infrastructure of USDA managed Regional Organic Farming
• Proactive Leafy Green Agricultural Economics
In turn, I will break down this essay into the following subtitles:
• Tin Cup Economics
• The Big Organic
• The Architecture of Colorado
• Global Agricultural Bewilderment
• The Leafy Green Architectural Imperative
• President Obama and Agricultural Clunkers
• The United States Green Building Council and the USDA
If you have any questions pertaining to this essay,
I can be contacted via email at:
or by cell phone at:
Thank you for your time and eat well!
M. Patrick Dahlke
Someday soon, I want you to go out and buy enough second hand clothing to dress yourself in and in doing so, alter your physical appearance so much that virtually no one who has ever known you, recognizes you once you have.
After you have done this, I want you to go the busiest street corner you know of that is far, far away from your own hometown and spend the day sitting on that corner with a tin cup in your hand.
I don’t want you to sit there with a guitar.
I don’t want you to sit there with a book.
I don’t want you to sit there with your laptop.
I don’t want you to sit there listening to your favorite music…
…and, I most definitely don’t want you to sit there with a friend or friends.
I want you to go to that corner alone and by yourself with only a tin cup in your hand. I don’t care how old you are. I don’t care whether your male or female. All I care about is that you go to a second hand clothing store, pick up some rags, go to your favorite busy street corner in a town far removed from your own overly comfortable hometown for one day only and for that one day just sit there with a tin cup in your hand.
As you sit there, I want you to study the people who pass by.
As they pass by, I want you to come to conclusions about not what they do in their personal life (because it is none of your damn business anyway) but what they do in their professional life.
As you are watching these folks, I want you to ask yourself how many American dreams are walking by you on that busy street corner on that one special day you have reserved just for yourself as an American dreamer as well.
(hint: If you are as good as I am at looking at people who wear their daily costumes and in doing so express the intrinsic love they have for their careers, in the process, you will, within just one 24 hour day, soon discover the brilliance of your own broad spectrum mind.)
At the end of the day, I want you to go home and throw out the second hand clothing immediately.
In turn, I want you to keep the tin cup and its contents forever.
The reason for throwing away the clothing is simple.
Clothing does not make the man or the woman or the dream.
The contents of the tin cup on the other hand, shapes the character of the tin cup holder and in turn shapes the character of those who stopped, talked to the tin cup holder and put something worth remembering by the two of them into that tin cup.
Thus, the reason for the tin cup explains the reason for the costume and of course, explains the reason for the trip out of town in the first place!
As that reason is all about change, sometimes leaving the world you have become used to just for a day is all that is needed for change to occur.
THE BIG ORGANIC
Fifth and Jackson
I started growing and eating organically grown food at Fifth and Jackson in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania back in 1973. As a young Navy sailor waiting for my discharge and as my ship, the USS Connole DE1056 was being overhauled at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, due to the fact that the work on the ship was being done by a civilian labor force, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands in this post Vietnam, American military era.
Not one to ever be idle and after just coming off a tour of duty in the Mediterranean Sea where I had found myself as an American sailor and long distance runner journeying through the streets of the small towns surrounding Barcelona, Spain and Athens, Greece, I found myself on the streets of Philly doing the same thing.
On my runs through foreign hamlets, the thing that struck me the most was the remarkable wealth of produce being grown in the gardens surrounding the homes of the foreigners who planted these gardens. In turn, the remarkably subtle and quite peaceful social interaction taking place within these old world Spanish and Greek communities intrigued me.
In stark contrast to the American world I grew up in, the remarkably tender settings of the foreign villages I ran through and that framed these ancient gardens left an impression on this young American sailor’s mind. Needless to say, when I finally arrived back to the shores of my own nation, I was somewhat at a loss as to how to relate to it on one hand but on another, I continued to run.
Because I did so, what happened upon my path through the South Philly neighborhood at Fifth and Jackson enabled me to validate my recent European tour and in doing so, enabled me in turn to understand why remarkable American people did indeed embrace and retain the organic cultural values of their original European homelands.
As I found myself drawn to this particular neighborhood, on one of those runs, I met a fellow who was wholly immersed in running himself. Not only was he a runner, he was much like myself, an open eyed world traveler who had brought his experiences home and in doing so decided to fully imprint his global experiences on to and into the community of South Philly we both ran through every day. Needless to say, as time went on, Elliot Gevis and I quickly discovered that we shared the same bundle of both physical and “global philosophical energy”. We were as much younger men back then somehow connected to what I consider in retrospect now as being an “emerging whole life global consciousness”.
Elliot owned a three story walk up at Fifth and Jackson. As time went by and as Elliot and I became friends and working partners, the mutual energies we shared from both our running and global travels were transformed in the work the two of us did over the course of more than a few Philadelphia spring, summer and fall weekends.
What we did was deliberately interrupt the blacktop architecture that covered his backyard and transform it into the environmental architecture that existed in both of our early 1970s visionary young American, urban agricultural imaginations.
Removing the blacktop that covered the soil behind his walk up turned into:
• Hauling that asphalt to a local recycling landfill (yes these things did exist in the 1970s).
• Cleaning and replenishing the soil beneath that blacktop.
• Painting a three story tall mural of the Green Mountains surrounding the home of friends who lived in Vermont.
• Planting seeds and transplanting plants into our backyard urban garden.
• Acquiring a wealth of gardening knowledge that was consistently given to us (along with those seeds and plants) by the aging Italian master gardening women and men that lived in this particular South Philly neighborhood at the time.
As Elliot and I were at the time considered to be out of step with both the Vietnam War and the Peace Movement, not to mention the corporate world that was pitting both of these other worlds’ against one another, we simply found ourselves fully embraced by the organic world that was beginning to surface in America as well.
Supported by a seasoned staff of bread, pasta and sausage makers, our adopted Italian parents cared for us with fresh baked food filled with ingredients grown in their remarkably well nourished organic Italian family urban American gardens.
Needless to say, as we were successful in our achievement of transforming asphalt to Arugula, the two of us quickly became known in South Philly for our then quirky and obscure international organic gardening efforts.
While Elliot and I were by then not only long distant runners and officially certified Italian organic gardeners, we were as well becoming multi-ethic urban ambassadors who quite by happenstance also owned two American made Chevrolet Suburbans’.
As inadvertent pioneers in the very early field of organic urban gardening, we were as well becoming pioneers in the world of late 20th century alternative transportation.
Elliot owned a green 1968 Chevrolet Suburban carryall whereas I owned a blue 1972 Chevrolet Suburban panel truck.
How we used those Suburban’s back then was just as remarkable as how we did not use them.
In hindsight, I have to say that what was truly remarkable about Chevrolet Suburban’s back then was the fact that they could be used to transport asphalt and arugula as well as meatball dinners between neighboring Italians and local landfills just as easily as they could be used to transport troubled inner city youngsters to basketball camps in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania and southwestern New York State (yes we were both basketball players). In turn, they could just as easily be used to transport musicians and their equipment to music festivals.
These trucks were at the time uniquely American human carryalls. As I’ve stated that Elliot and I used them but also did not use them, back then, something called “common sense” ultimately determined whether we would get into our Suburbans’ and drive or stay home and play basketball with kids or recruit them to fix things that broke inside the homes of elderly Italians who played music and in the process of doing so, expose these kids that did not know anything at all about Barcelona, Spain, Athens, Greece our the elderly Italian urban arugala farmers, not in the least their own remarkably resilient African American roots (yes Elliot and I had adult friends who long before they were called American presidents were known as Negroes back them) that lived in the neighborhood surrounding the basketball courts of their rambunctious inner city youth experience up until that point.
Anyway, entirely unlike the suburbans of 2009, these trucks back then were manufactured with distinctive human sensitivities and sensibilities. If you’ve ever cared for a horse, you will appreciate what I mean when I say that back then you could talk to your Suburban just as easily as you could talk to your horse. As long as you cared for the two them, they in the process of those conversations would in turn give you insight into your daily life that was decidedly accurate.
Having said what I have just said and feeling the need to remind you of the fact that this essay is about “Leafy Green Marketing Agreements”, the efforts of Mark Kastell and his associates at Cornucopia Institute , the guys and gals at the USDA , and the guys and gals of corporate America, and given all that is clearly wrong with our economy today, I feel compelled to pose the following question:
Has anyone within their collective pursuit of attempting to solve the economic problems we are facing in American today, actually considered the notion of post traumatic stress disorder as that disorder pertains to both the horse and Suburban?
If you have, have you in turn considered the fact that horses have over the course of the last several decades come to hate Suburban’s?
In turn, have you ever considered the fact 2009 Chevrolet Suburban’s feel neglected and abandoned by horses?
I’m serious, I am not joking. I mean horses now have “Horse Whispering Psychoanalysts” to help them cope with the nationwide loss of their emotional horse powers.
While they are getting this help and attention to overcome their anger towards the Suburban, the Suburban has been implanted with a GPS chip that in the event they unfortunately get lost, GM workers will be able to technologically find them but not emotionally bond with them and their cargo of arugula or elderly Italians or young teenaged basketball players.
I mean really, in all of your travels, I’m sure you have seen horses with their owners in fields of alfalfa sharing a teachable moment, but have you ever seen a Suburban in that same field sharing a teachable and tender moment with a GM executive?
It’s sad I tell you. It’s just plain sad and no wonder for heaven’s sake that General Motors feels as if it has completely failed the horse.
What’s even sadder is that in its’ obsession over world dominance GM failed to realize its own demise and did so at the expense of the nation that helped it grow to begin with.
The Architecture of Colorado
At any rate, after my discharge from the “United States Navy” and after the South Philly garden had been completed, Elliot and I packed up our green and blue suburban’s with the tools of our intellectual organic philosophies and the manmade tools that helped shape the four hands of two good friends, hugged and departed upon separate journeys that would lead Elliot to join the “Peace Corps” only to become a worldwide community development advocate and I to follow along the “Appalachian Trail” in search of the blueprint that would ultimately come to shape my life as an American architectural designer and master carpenter and a quiet and thoughtful city planning and economic development pragmatist.
Stopping in communities along the trail that reminded me of both my European and South Philly experiences, each time I found myself drawn to towns that reminded me of those experiences, I would paint the names of those towns on the sides of my traveling light blue, tin cup, 1972 suburban and in turn etch the architectural and social blueprint of that town into the engineering and humanitarian corner of my brain that I today consistently refer to as I write.
On a wonderful journey to understand the inner workings of my somewhat complex version of the American dream, and meeting remarkable people upon the trail who were doing the same, eventually the Appalachians disappeared in my horse’s (early non dysfunctional Chevrolet Suburban) rearview mirror and I found myself settled in Boulder, Colorado.
Almost immediately upon my arrival in Boulder, one extraordinary situation after another began to occur in my life.
In no time, I was becoming involved with forming the Boulder Organic Food Co-op. This organization’s singular purpose was to purchase organic food in bulk, store that food in wholly unassuming wooden bins and sell it at remarkably affordable prices to members of that co-op. To become a member, all one had to do was volunteer at the store or somewhere out in the community that was benefiting directly from the food this co-op provided. The basic agrarian model of this co-op, and many others that were forming across our nation back then, had little to nothing at all to do with actually making a living in any traditional sense. Instead they had to do with shaping an organic farming ideological future, thinking that in doing so these members (including myself) would indeed make a living once the word got out that brown rice was far better for the human body than minute rice. Low and behold, almost four decades later this ideology has become somewhat of a benchmark for successful retail grocers such as “Whole Foods”
Being the lead visionary behind the formulation of the Boulder Work Co-op, I began recruiting small group of friends who like myself realized that the homes in Boulder just like the homes anywhere else in America needed work done to them on a regular basis. Unlike simple handymen or women however, we were artisans specializing in all aspects of the historical preservation of the many remarkable 19th century homes that dotted Boulder’s cityscape. Unlike handymen and historic preservations, we were also students of another burgeoning ideology. Thus by blending our hand wrought knowledge of 19th century trades with the far more technologically advanced notions of solar and wind powered as well as earth sheltered architecture, we soon found ourselves forming small regional manufacturing concerns that were able to reproduce and install such things as antique bathroom tiles and antique lighting fixtures into historic homes that we were also retrofitting with the modern technologies we were also manufacturing.
While all of this was occurring in Boulder as well as other late 20th century American hubs of visionary 21st century industrial thought, the war between corporate America and union America year by year and decade by decade was growing intensely more hostile. As that war was about preserving old money much more than it was about the inventiveness needed to create new money, needless to say, those of us who were attempting to create new money have had the distinct misfortune of waiting our entire, highly educated adult lives for hopelessly uneducated unions and corporations to put down their ancient 20th century swords so that we as a nation can once again invest our money into new shares of stock in companies that build 21st century, advanced technology plows.
As a young builder living in the visionary natural food and organic architectural environment of Boulder, I was as well the beneficiary of advanced technological training in the United States Navy. Whereas many of my counterparts in Boulder had extensive knowledge of woodworking, the production of stained glass, the fabrication of ornamental iron work and so on, I possessed the knowledge of the hundreds of mechanical systems I was charged with monitoring, maintaining and repairing aboard multi million dollar American military ships. Whereas a stained glass artisan was focused on the intricate detail of creating a singular stained glass piece, I would be focusing on the ability of that stained glass piece to draw and collect heat. Whereas an ornamental iron worker would be focusing on the artistic fabrication of a heat register, I would be focusing on the air that moved through that register. Where was that air coming from? Where was that air going? How can that air be utilized for the greater advantage of the building it was moving into and out of?
As it was obvious to me then that these collective skills would benefit many, unfortunately the battle between late 20th century unions and corporations over old money would again retard that benefit to the point where today in 2009, our America remains filled with anger over who gets the old money as opposed to actively engaging in the advanced 21st century air current dialogue that will actually make the new money we all so desperately need to get our collective hearts, minds, bodies and pocketbooks around.
In the midst of the personal artistic and engineering vision I was quietly and in many ways unknowingly pursuing came recognition that was wholly unexpected. Standing at the entrance of the Hotel Boulderado watching the annual “Red Zinger Bicycle Classis” I found myself next to a silver haired woman some thirty years my senior and chatting. Ruth Correl ,the former mayor and I found ourselves talking about of all things, the energy crisis President Jimmy Carterand the rest of us were confronting in the 1970s. Within a relatively short period of time, it was clear to the both of us that we were on common ground filled both with concern and excitement.
At the end of our conversation, Ruth asked me if I would be interested in becoming involved with the Colorado Affordable Housing Commission headed by then Colorado Senator Gary Hart and former Colorado Governor Dick Lamb. I said yes and shortly thereafter found myself as a young man of just twenty four who had barely managed to graduate high school in the midst of executives from IBM, Storage Technology Corporation, professors from the University of Colorado, scientists at NCAR and a host of others whose collective goal was to draft an economically and environmentally sustainable blueprint for Colorado’s and America’s 21st century future. And of all the things we discussed it was how to install the advanced mechanical systems found on board multi million dollar naval ships into the mainstream of Colorado’s future economy that brought us all together.
Having said all of what I have just said, it is amazing to me what actually draws people together into a conversation. While there are those in America today that can talk forever on the subject of human rights, environmental protectionism, the plight of mental health advocates, the conversation over advanced 21st century American reindustrialization and truly re-capitalizing America’s industrial marketplace seems to be perpetually lost in utter nonsense.
At about the same time I was involved in the Affordable Housing Commission, I was introduced to a fellow by the name of Mo Segul. Mo of course, was one of the founders of Celestial Seasonings Tea Company At the time, Mr. Segal was negotiating with Beatrice Foods for the marketing rights of Celestial’s newly developed organic iced tea beverages. As the issue was to define the marketing structure that would enable these cold drinks to be introduced to national markets that for all practical purposes had virtually no understanding of herbal tea or the higher social consciousness emanating from Boulder, our discussions were directly related to inserting an idea we all knew existed in the subliminal minds of most Americans but was unfortunately lost within the same mental framework that prevented most of America as well from seeing the writing on the wall of our nation’s first glimpse of living with the reality of what today has become the stark reality of our collective failure to embrace energy and industrial self sustainability.
As what was beginning to happen for the larger good of our United States of America back then in Colorado was remarkably exciting to myself and many others, we were collectively living in a bubble of fantasy as what was going on in Colorado was most certainly not going on anywhere else in America.
As all of these things occurred in my life while living in Boulder and my career was evolving, so to was my confusion over why I and the collection of strangers from cities and towns throughout America were in part drawn to Boulder, but in larger part drawn to go back home and share with our own families the nature of learning and caring we as a neighborhood back then in Boulder could not find in the actual neighborhood we were born into back home.
While still living in Boulder, I received a telephone call from my mother in Chicago. The context of that 2:00 am phone call was about my father. Dad had just suffered a massive heart attack, and mom was calling me her eldest son for help.
Needless to say, all of what I had gained from my global experiences up until the moment of my departure from Colorado was rapidly diluted upon my arrival back to the bastion of bigotry that personifies the south suburbs of Chicago I was born in.
Even though my journeys through America were always dotted with visits to my parent’s home and each of those visits personified the remarkable differences between my life experiences and those of my immediate family, this particular visit would take on a very singular and poignant essay on the future of not only my perspective on American organic farming, but on my much larger perspective on American architecture and more to the point, American nutrition, healthcare and proactive organic community development.
After my father’s heart attack and subsequent discharged from the hospital, this honorable (to the point of extreme stubbornness) man was forced to confront his personal physical health in much the same manner as he had to confront his World War II post traumatic stress alter ego. In a manner that no one in my family ever had to before, my father had to learn to listen to those that before his heart attack, he considered his soldiers.
As one of those soldiers was his own son, my occasional visits back home before his heart attack were often met with not only his but my entire family’s bemused disinterest in what they considered as my irresponsible personal lifestyle. In retrospect, the fact that my hair was down to my ass and I wore smocks, hiking shorts and sandals probably added to their Irish Catholic bewilderment. And given the fact that I never attended church anywhere else but in Chicago and dressed the way I was, it was not the least bit uncommon for little children to come up to me when I attempted to have an intelligent conversation with the parish priest only to have the children ask me if I was Jesus Christ?
Obviously, there’s not much more to say on this particular subject.
Anyway, having inherited my love for cooking from my own father and mother, each time I arrived in south Chicago to hopefully reconnect with my family, I did so in part thinking that my experiences in organic based gardening and cooking would in some way be celebrated and in some way open up a broader based family dialogue.
Unfortunately however, the recipes I prepared for my family were met with the same eyebrow raising, doubtful stares as my clothing and the conversations I attempted to have while wearing that clothing. In other words, I as a chef who had inherited my love for cooking from both my mother and father of German Irish descent was being confronted with the fact that what I learned to cook in Europe, Philadelphia and Colorado and was far more organic and ethnically geared to the actual health of my entire family ran headlong into the reality of being born from parents who themselves were born into the Great Depression and post World War II era of military prescribed K-Rationed, mess hall eating mentality. If it wasn’t in a can, most likely it came from a communist country.
As family meals throughout my childhood were served in more or less an eat until you are told not to environment, the casualness of my style of cooking when I came home as an adult was met with an uncomfortable sense that because of my casualness, I and the food and conversations I attempted to have was upsetting to the overall dulled silence of an entirely non existent organic family dialogue.
While my entrees were treated as such before my father’s heart attack, upon his discharge from the hospital, he was handed a list of foods and food preparation techniques that no one other than his doctor and I his eldest soldier knew would be essential to his recovery.
From being considered weird and strange in one moment in my ultra conservative and hopelessly cloistered south Chicago Catholic family, I was, because of my acquired European and organic American gardening and culinary experiences, quite suddenly exalted to the position of chief nutritional consultant to the family’s master chef, my father Al.
Life most certainly has a funny way of unfolding quite joyfully if we let it and in doing so forgive.
Having said this, are the nutritional deficiencies of our collectively unhealthy and equally unaffordable national diet and healthcare stemming still from the fact that we as nit wit Americans continue to allow a corporate food processing mentality to feed us military K-Rationed, World War II style packaged green beans or are we going to look at our national nutritional needs within the framework of the old world language of nutritional/medical health adhered to by our Italian, Spanish, Irish, German and many other ethnically diverse but none the less historically tuned family nutritional matriarchs? (My mother loved my cooking by the way, but, not as much as she loved my deceased father’s. And, believe it or not, the dear woman still prays for me.)
What is the actual definition of “Affordable American Healthcare”?
As it is in large part the responsibility of the USDA here today in 2009 to appropriately regulate the overwhelming emergence of new regionally based, organic farming networks that will assure wholesome national nutrition, is it as well, the responsibility of the USDA to assure holistic national healthcare? The two are one in the same and therefore inseparable.
Global Agricultural Bewilderment
There is a remarkable story unfolding in our United States of America here and today in 2009. As this story encompasses the emergence of literally thousands of 21st century green industrial and economic growth ideas, virtually every single one of them is benchmarked in the realization that prodigal sons and daughters who have returned from foreign lands or experiences foreign to the land they came from have ideas that if allowed to grow unhindered, would serve as blueprints for not only American family and community nutritional health, but the much larger blueprint of universal American Healthcare not to mention in the least, the birth of full spectrum American economic wealth as well.
On this blog and whether you are one of my regular readers or visiting for the first time, it is my hope that you take from my writing something of a significantly positive and both personally and professionally reinforcing nature. As I have over the course of years found myself in the midst of so many remarkable expressions of wholly unrestrained American inventive brilliance, it has been my association with people who moved freely about within the constraints of sameness for the singular purpose of painting a fresh picture of American ingenuity that have enabled me to not only create but write about my own as well.
As I am certain that true 21st century American artisans are as well organic farmers connected to the life blood that flows quite remarkably and fluidly through the veins, limbs and roots of our greater ancestral heritage, it is our responsibility as artisans to temper the hard lessons of life into soft essays of kindness. As the remarkable joy in knowing the skills I acquired to nourish my father nutritionally and emotionally came from the skills he gave me to become a master carpenter, his 20th century military approach to food preparation enabled me as his son to be able to dream of and build better days than he himself had not found in his generation.
Having said this, it is my firm belief that there are within the structure of our nation’s globally oriented free market economy today, far too many global food processing corporations that to this day in 2009 have no other goal than to continue to profit at the expense of World War II “typical American dog tag consumer profiling”. With profit as their only goal, “competition and victory” as their corporate mantra and high speed production and supply of our nation’s food chain as their moral imperative, they move along in our economy thinking as if World War II just like ground hog day is a perpetually reoccurring cause for continued national nutritional warfare.
What these corporations fail to realize however is that the children of these veterans have done what their parents hoped they would do, they have moved on and in doing so acquired an entirely new set of highly advanced regionally based American nutritional, agricultural and economically motivated organic national health values that have virtually no philosophical stomach for corporate canned green beans any longer.
None the less, as if we all were born with bar codes stamped to our foreheads, these corporations focus on our bar codes exclusively and in doing so attempt to usher us into their corporate retail cathedrals thinking that if enough of us pass through their doors, all of our nation’s economic ills will magically disappear. Setting aside entirely the fact that the vast majority of the products they present to consumers who have a tendency to eat daily, have little to no bearing on the actual 21st century nutritional potential we as a nation should be focusing our collective genius on. As their entire focus is to continue to capitalize on the narrow buying trends of our parents as opposed to fulfilling the much broader nutritional and overall healthcare needs of our children, the processed food born medical ailments of one generation simply get passed on to the next.
Fortunately, while these corporations are in their waning days of corporate wealth at the expense of national health, they remain as dangerous reminders of how clinging to our canned bean, World War II K-rationed past has led our nation into an economy that produces no jobs, no new technologies and purely unhealthy national nutritional standards that do nothing other than increase the cost of national healthcare and breed wholly unnecessary economic pain to American families. As these corporations are predators upon and suppressors of our otherwise unique and genuine American inventiveness and as what they sell benefits virtually no one in America (or the rest of the world) other than themselves, one would think that our national leaders would realize this and simply move to shut them down.
Having said this, let me remind you of a few facts:
First and foremost;
This essay has been written on behalf of Mark Kastell, cofounder of The Cornucopia Institute.
The Cornucopia Institute was founded for the singular goal of protecting the rights of an ever growing and remarkably dynamic American population of family owned and community by community based networks of regional organic dairy cattle and produce farmers.
I myself have been growing and eating organic produce for close to four decades.
The United State Department of Agriculture has brought forth an initiative entitled “The Green Leafy Marketing Agreement”.
This initiative has been brought for the singular purpose of creating a proactive agricultural dialogue that will assure among other issues, the national safeguarding of the organic foods that must feed our nation and our nation alone in the 21st century.
Feeding our nation’s emerging organic national nutritional needs is entirely different from feeding the world’s global bio-agricultural needs. These are two wholly separate, high definition socio-economic issues just as they are wholly separate high definition industrial and economic development issues. As they are, it is imperative that they are treated as such. If they are not, both our national nutritional health and our national industrial health will continue to fail.
As Mr. Kastell and his associates at the Wisconsin based Cornucopia Institute are fully engaged in the development of sustainable market oriented regulation of the USDA “Leafy Green Marketing Agreement”, both he and I are fully aware of the fact that “the philosophy of a fully engaged organic farming agreement” runs parallel to the larger national philosophy of organic industrial and economic growth within what should be the far more dynamic parameters of that agreement.
As Mark is compelled to work with both regional American farmers and the USDA, I am equally compelled to work with both the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and the AFL-CIO to bring the 21sy century advanced technological and architectural goals of master tradesmen and women into alignment with the identical goals of the forward thinking American farmer.
As today in 2009 the pre-eminent focus of the survival of our market economy depends entirely upon the rapid rate of absorption of new industrial knowledge, organic farming and organic home building are essential elements that will directly allow such rapid absorption to occur. At a time when the regional American organic food industry has clearly moved itself into the larger dialogue of competing with corporate producers of America’s domestic food supply, a fully integrated mix of advanced regionally based economic development issues have surfaced as well.
Nationally based alternative forms of energy use and management, nationally based use of alternative energy powered forms of transportation, the subsequent development of alternative transportation and public utility grids, this dialogue emanates today in 2009 not from the wall street tickers that have for the past forty years charted and plotted the growth of corporate food processors and retailers but from the tickers of those who can clearly see the advanced technological writing on the wall of a new century of American progress. In a world of high tech and high speed wall street assumptions and predictions, the corporate food processor and retailer is in many ways fighting for their collective economic life. The problem of course is neither wall street nor the corporate food processor and retailer realizes that this life is and has been over and done with for quite some time.