We—Maria, Noah, Adam and I—are united in bringing forth the Local Food Movement.
Our calling has deep roots. Maria grew up on a farm in northern Nicaragua where her father grew sorghum, corn, yuca, squash, watermelon and five varieties of beans. Her family farm included chickens and a milk cow (named Cola Blanca, “White Tail” in English). Native fruits and berries showered the farm providing an abundance of guyavas, nancites, jocote (to name just a few). Her experience growing up surrounded by the generative power of nature, with a diversity of plant and animal life, has blessed her with a gift of seeing the vanishing of our green spaces, and destruction of animal habitat. In the United States now for more than twenty-five years, her eyes see and her heart feels the pain of an industrial economic system that neglects external costs, a system that erodes rather than generates life. (Is this really “development”?)
My own moment of clarity came a couple of years after we started our business. The vision we created for Mederi Garden centered on health, healing and holiness concepts; on food as a building-block for community. These values marked a sharp contrast to the mission and values of the Houston-area community college where I worked (as a history instructor up until Summer of 2017). Most attention of the college leadership touted the wonderful opportunity we had to be the “lead college” in the Gulf Coast Petrochemical Initiative. On Professional Development day, our President declared the faculty responsibility to train students for thousands of new jobs in Houston-area refineries. Not one college program, course, or organization drew attention to the energy crisis, nothing on how to create and participate in building an economy beyond fossil fuels; no college commitment to address the upcoming, inevitable climate crisis, not a word on facing the “long emergency” to use Howard Kunstler’s term (and title of his most revealing book…The Long Emergency).
Soon after college leadership celebrated this so-called opportunity I penned a letter of resignation a year later surrendering an eighteen-year teaching career!