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This time of year my dinner plate is loaded with purple broccoli, asparagus, leeks, carrots, eggs, and plenty of fresh salad. My friends or I grow the food. As I sit down to eat, I turn to my other evening ritual: flipping on the computer and listening to the world news. I hear the reports of food crises around the planet; I hear hunger in the voices of people on the street. All too often, I just have to put down my fork and weep.

I'm frustrated, and I bet I'm not the only one.

The author Paul Loeb makes the analogy: Imagine you are standing on the edge of a river, and coming down this river are drowning children. Of course you must run in to pull the children out, but at the same time you must also run upstream to stop whatever is causing the children to fall in. Therein lies the frustration.

Though religious thoughts vary, no spiritual tradition would argue that a person should stand on the side of the river and do nothing.

I applaud those organizations and churches that run into the river to stop the immediate crises, which, in this situation, is to send money and food to the hungry. My path often leads to the 'run upstream to stop' tactic. A good solution resolves many problems at once, and I find that working on solutions is what heartens and nourishes me.

Of the many solutions for the food crisis abroad, I see the biggest one would be the cancellation of third world debt. Can we afford to cancel debt with our slow economy? You bet. Right now, instead, we're paying for hunger relief and political instability. (If you're interested, lots of info is available through Jubilee 2000).

As for hunger closer to home, that solution comes back to the broccoli and asparagus on my plate. I consider myself a somewhat novice gardener, yet I can harvest a grocery-bag full of food from my gardens every week of the year. I buy grain in bulk, though this year I'll be growing quinoa. I spend maybe $30 a month at a grocery store.

We can wait for the proverbial 'poo to hit the fan', or we can decide to support, just for the fun of it, local farmers, underemployed geeks like me, and neighbors who have sustainable skills. A sincere offer I extend: if you're wanting to put better, fresher food in your belly regardless of income, contact me and I will help you.

CALENDAR: Thursdays in May, Natural Yard Care at South Hill Library, May 17 Livable Communities fair, May 18 Sustainable Tacoma-Pierce 'Rainwater' workparty, May 21 Self-Reliant Graham field trip, May 24 Mother Earth Farm workparty (fresh food goes to local food banks!), May 25 Sustainable Puyallup potluck.

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Page last modified on June 06, 2008, at 03:21 PM