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Luke Groce
Posts: 49
Location: Louisville, KY
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I've been asked by a local progressive politics and culture blog to write 2-3 paragraphs on the following prompt:

Currently, there are many initiatives touching on Louisville's local food scene—the planned West End 'food hub,' urban farming, new restaurants opening and closing with many claiming local food use, farmers markets, new venues selling local produce and meats, and even food tech. The city has made 'local food' a major component in its economic planning and development initiatives.

Given all this attention around Louisville and food, what is the number one challenge the city is facing, or is going to face, around local food production/distribution/consumption? How can Louisville overcome that challenge and become a food leader nationally?


I put together this response, but am wanting to see if any like minded, thoughtful, intelligent people could give me some quick feedback. Am I missing anything important? Am I unclear? Am I wrong anywhere? I feel a need to be need to be brief, approachable, and winsome. But I also want to challenge people who are already locavores to not stop there, but really think about what their choices do to the land base.

Here is my draft:


I am glad that Louisville is a town that has a food conscience. It is fantastic to be a farmer who is supported by people interested in knowing where their food comes from. My hope for Louisville's food system would be that this conscience becomes a more informed and active one. "Is this local?" and "Was this sprayed?" are good places to start, but there are many more choices just as important that a farmer is making when he raises your food. I believe that politics are downstream from culture. I think that change won't come from ten people who have the ear of the mayor or governor, but from tens of thousands of people who are deciding for themselves what is important, and then letting the farmers, shop owners, chefs, butchers, and distributors know. Then the politicians will follow. I have little doubt that all of my wildest desires for widespread regenerative land use, policy initiatives, wise investment of resources, and regulatory unshackling would come true if significantly more people were aware of some of the following things:

1. The act of producing food can have the capacity to rapidly degrade, slowly degrade, or regenerate land: above-ground and sub-teranian ecosystems. There is no current labeling system on your food for this.
2. These ecosystems are the primary resource base from which human life, sustenance, and flourishing are based upon. This resource base is renewable, but finite.
3. Land will follow a natural progression, aided or unaided, from simple (bare, denuded soil) to complex (mature forest, prairie, marsh etc). And humans can obtain food, fuel, fiber, and medicine from every stage in this progression.
4. All humans (and all animals humans eat) obtain their calories from plants which live less than one year (annuals) and plants which live more than one year (perennials).
5. The annual tilling of land, or the use of herbicides in place of tillage, resets the ecological succession of land back to the least healthy, most carbon emitting, hardest to maintain, and least complex form of ecosystem possible in that place.
6. The use of both animals and plants in the restoration of land towards more complex ecossystems in a way that resembles natural patterns is the best tool we have to regenerate land, feed humans nutritiously, sequester carbon, build ecological diversity, and continue to thrive into the future.

One could spend a lifetime branching out from these six points. I intend to. But I think that understanding and sharing them is the best way to create real change in our local food system. Do have a garden, and do eat annual plants farmed well on ground that is being regenerated or, at a minimum, "sustained." But build soil, or ask questions of the farmer about how he builds soil and promotes ecological regeneration. And if you're aware of these things, try to find more food that comes from perennial plants, and animals who eat them: from the forest and the pasture. Food from perennials grown in nature-mimicking poly-cultures is rare in the marketplace, but more of us farmers are seeing its value and responding. And if we are successful in repairing our land and feeding happy eager conscious people with open wallets, others will surely follow.
 
Dave Burton
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Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
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I really like your response to the prompt! I think your writing was effective, but one line I think could be useful to add before or inside the lines "I think that change won't come..." is how people are voting on the world they want to live in with their money. Or maybe the flow of money is a drastically overlooked factor by the public when looking for ways to improve the world.
 
Luke Groce
Posts: 49
Location: Louisville, KY
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Good thinking Dave. It is a concept that was definitely in my mind when writing to this progressive leaning audience, but I wasn't stating it outright. I might do well to mention it, since the potential positive power of money, and the votes you make with it, are more influential than most other levers of change that you can pull in the public space.
 
Dave Burton
pollinator
Posts: 1026
Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
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I'm not an expert at writing, and quite frankly that gets me into trouble sometimes. You can try dropping hints or being straightforward. However, I have find it to be useful to just state things outright instead of trying to allude to them. Not everybody gets the hints, or the right message from the hints. In the english classes I have taken in school before and currently, they tell us that a good writer won't have to state things clearly for the audience to get the idea; that may be true. I don't know, which is why I much prefer doing my lab reports- they are straight to the point and free of confusion.
 
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