Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Virtues of Community

Going against the flow can be lonely.  A complaint from a locavore:
I live five miles outside a town of 850 people that could be more vibrant, more open to my ideas and goals as a farmer. I know that the customers who buy our eggs and lamb appreciate the work I do to make the food they eat, but I don't see them every day. (In fact, because I sell at an online farmers market, I rarely see any of my customers at all.) There are one or two other farmers in the area who grow things like we do, but we see them about every other month. Folks in my town are nice people, but they generally see nothing wrong with chemical farming or genetically modified seeds, as far as I can tell. Rarely does anyone think that farming without these technologies might be worth something extra. We stand by our values and practice sustainable agriculture, but pay the price of being seen as outsiders.
There can be a tendency to idealize the past. I grew up in an area of small farms and people who commuted to the city for work, but it wouldn't be  terribly warm and welcoming to newcomers.  I don't think the different ideas are as important as the actions and attitudes of the newcomers.  An extrovert who joins in community activities can be accepted regardless of any weird ideas he may have; someone who holds back won't be warmly integrated.

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