A few years ago, we bought a second home in a Dale Abbey, a small village in Derbyshire, England.
Our main home is in midtown, Manhattan, just across the street from Rockefeller Center. That’s a tough place to grow your own food. But Dale Abbey was another story.
Now, the funny thing about growing your own food is that somehow it tastes a whole lot better than the stuff that comes from the supermarket. There’s a reason for that. You have a direct and personal connection to each ear of corn, each runner bean, each raspberry. You innately understand what is required to go from seed to table. The food not only tastes better, you have a lot more respect for the food. You are a lot more reluctant to waste it or to throw it out.
For almost all of human history, we all had a direct and very personal relationship to our food. Up until about 100 years ago, or so, nearly 85% of the population of the US was involved in agriculture. Today, only 3% of the population are farmers. They not only feed the country, but a good deal of the world.
The industrial revolution changed the nature of agriculture in America, and it changed our relationship to the food we ate. Great food corporations took control of the growth, processing and distribution of food, and in doing so, not only changed our relationship to the food we eat, but also changed the very food itself.
No one who grows their own food could possibly imagine calling Pringles or Captain Crunch or Twinkies ‘food’. They are not food. They are industrial products designed to eat to maximize the profits of the food corporations. But being so separated from growing our own food, after a generation or two, caused us to lose our deep and human and rather natural connection to food and allow it to be replaced by junk.
For most of human history, news and information was as organic and direct as growing your own food. Stories and information were passed by word of mouth from person to person directly. Oral histories abounded. Homer’s poetry was oral and village and personal.
Then, about 100 years ago, concurrent with the rise of the Industrial Revolution (and the industrialization of agriculture) came the industrialization of news and information.
As we abnegated responsibility for our food to major agribusinesses, we also abnegated responsibility for our news and information to major media businesses.
And, as those major food companies had little to no concern for our nutritional value, so too those major media companies had little to no concern for our intellectual or ethical values. Profit was all for both. Sugar, addiction, fat – in both cases really.
Junk food led us to become an obese nation. Junk news and information led us to become a nation of fat heads (so to speak) – intellectually obese.
Going ‘back to nature’ and growing your own food re-connects you with something very basic in the human experience. That is the basis of the organic revolution in food – the farm to table experience. It is better, but it also gives you a far greater appreciation of what food is supposed to taste like, and in a way, feel like.
Can we do for journalism and news and information what ‘home grown’ does for food and nutrition?
I think so.
If you have a smartphone or an iPhone, you have all the tools you need to start to ‘grow your own news’ and information. You don’t have to depend on the MSNBCs or the Fox Newses of the world to feed you more news based empty calories – more scary and exciting stories that are as addictive as Cool Whip or Cheetos and as fattening and worthless.
You can take control of news and information (take back?) as planting your own seeds and harvesting your own corn and leeks allows you to connect in a very direct and personal way with your food.
I am not suggesting that home grown food completely replaces the supermarket. I don’t have cows… I don’t have fish ponds. I still need what they provide, but growing my own food has given me a far greater appreciation of what is good and what is not.
Growing your own Organic Media can do for you what growing your own organic food can do – it can empower you in very interesting way.
Go for it.
Grow your own