In Honor of Grace Paley

In Honor of Grace Paley

Let’s all try to go out and affect some kind of change today — no matter how small. (Me, I’m still trying to figure out how to recycle that plastic — can’t do it in Livingston, so I’ll have to check next time I drive to Bozeman. Otherwise, I’m mailing it to one of you who has plastic recycling in your town …)
From “All My Habits are Bad” the Salon interview with A.M. Homes (via Bookslut)

Do writers have a moral obligation?

Oh, I think all human beings do. So if all human beings have it, then writers have some, too. I mean, why should they get off the hook? Whatever your calling is, whether it’s as a plumber or an artist, you have to make sure there’s a little more justice in the world when you leave it than when you found it. Most writers do that naturally, see that more lives are illuminated, try to understand what is not understood and see what hasn’t been

The New York Times had this interesting piece on how communities of faith are turning their spiritual attention to food and food production. I particularly loved the bit about the guy who runs the Christian slaughterhouse and his collaboration with the Hasids … Here’s a quote from the article:

The two Hasidim oversee shehitah, the Jewish ritual slaughtering of meat according to the Book of Leviticus. The meat is then shipped to Wise Organic Pastures, a kosher food company in Brooklyn owned by Issac Wiesenfeld and his family. When Mr. Wiesenfeld sought an organic processor that used humane methods five years ago, he found Scott Lively, who was just beginning Dakota Beef, now one of the largest organic meat processors in the country.

Mr. Lively adheres to a diet he believes Jesus followed. Like Mr. Wiesenfeld, he says the Bible prescribes that he use organic methods to respect the earth, treat his workers decently and treat the cattle that enter his slaughterhouse as humanely as possible.

“We learn everything from the Old Testament,” Mr. Lively said, “from keeping kosher to responsible capitalism.”

Salon again, with “Oil and Food Don’t Mix”

Voted on by Congress every five years, the farm bill has dramatically changed the American way of eating in just the past half-century. Its corn subsidies have given way to the tidal wave of high-fructose corn syrup that fuels the nation’s obesity epidemic, its corporate-friendly policies led to the growth of major agribusiness and the death of family farms — and it continues to affect quality-of-life issues ranging from food stamps to school nutrition programs to clean-water, -air and -energy initiatives.

And to round out the week, the worlds least-likely activist (and a guy I have a big soft spot for –he looks SO much like an old old family friend of ours) — Prince Charles, with Highgrove, his 26-year-long experiment in organic gardening.

“Organic” is never out of the picture at Highgrove. The tone is set at the entrance by signs reading “Beware, you are now entering an old-fashioned establishment” and “This is a G.M.O.- free zone,” referring to genetically modified organisms.

Prince Charles has developed quite a reputation for his regard for nature, and Highgrove is deliberately designed to illustrate the way it works in practice. Thus the emphasis on avoiding pollution and waste, which extends even to recycling water by use of a reed bed purifying system, and of course avoiding anything that smacks of genetic engineering.

Apparently, he’s written a book, The Elements of Organic Gardening, which looks really fabulous ….

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