Thanks so very much to everyone for your kind and supportive words and positive thoughts. I cannot begin to express how much I appreciate it. Our hope now is that whoever these theives are have gotten what they wanted and are finished with us. Time will tell, but there are some online servies to help people protect themselves and we are taking advantage of that.
I've been reading Hope's Edge since early January. It's taken me much longer to read than books normally do, I suspect because it is so dense and there is so much information to take in. Hope's Edge was written by Frances Moore Lappe and her daughter Anna Lappe. Frances Moore Lappe is also the author of Diet for a Small Planet, a pro-vegetarian book written in the 70s.
In the past few years, I've felt as though I was educating myself about issues with our food supply. Michael Pollian's The Omnivore's Dilemma was my book-of-the-year for 2007. But reading Hope's Edge made me ashamed to realize that I hadn't really been thinking about the issue as globally as I should have. The issue in this book is hunger and what can be done about it. Lappe suggest five 'thought traps' that block us from solving this problem:
1. We need to produce more food - there is not enough.
2. Humans are selfish and competetive.
3. Leave it in the hands of experts.
4. We must dissect the problems and tackle them piece by piece.
5. The present system of global capitalism is the best we can do.
The Lappes set out to prove that things can be accomplished and they travel around the globe investigating people and organizations that are trying to make a real difference in people's lives. From Alice Waters' schoolyard garden in California to helping people homestead land in Brazil. To providing loans in Bangladesh to planting trees in Kenya. More countries, more ideas for solutions, finally ending in Madison, Wisconsin where the local, organic, sustainable movement is growing. Lappe admits that all of these solutions are not perfect. But these people and organizations are trying and that is what is important - versus not trying at all.
It's just maddening to read that we would have enough grain to feed the world if it weren't being fed to animals who shouldn't be eating it anyway. That grains grown around the world are exported to feed animals in developed countries while people go hungry. That the huge seed and pesticide companies like Monsanto go to places like small, remote, Indian villages and convince farmers to use their products for a nominal fee. Within a few years, the prices go up, the farmers cannot afford these products and their soil is destroyed by the pesticides so it's difficult and time-consuming to return to their previous 'organic' methods.
While I was reading this book an article appeared in my newspaper about Haitians eating cookies made of mud. People are so hungry and so poor they are eating dirt and feeding it to their children. It is so shameful that this occurs.
So what to do? I keep asking myself that. Obviously Lappe advocates a vegetarian diet. This book has a nice section full of recipes by well-known cookbook authors and chefs. I'll be honest - I don't really want to be a vegetarian - I want to eat meat sometimes and I can make good choices about where that comes from. My family does not want to be vegetarians either. We don't eat a lot of meat - generally only with dinner and not every day. I've been trying to challenge myself to consciously serve vegetarian meals more often - and not just pasta with sauce that shows up regularly anyway. Last week I prepared the mushroom stuffed portobellos with wild rice and cheese from Mollie Katzen's The Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without. It was good - but it took a little convincing for my daughter. I think it was a little bit too brown for her. So I'm trying on that front and collecting recipes to try.