Usually, when something becomes “trendy” I try to avoid it at all costs. Pants that are so tight you can see every muscle flex, boots with toes so pointy they look like lethal weapons, no carb diets… most trends seem like more effort and absurdity than they are worth. However, one trend I have no “that’s so trendy” qualms about is the popular movement to get involved in the community food system. Unlike other mass movements that become the latest trend, this one has the potential to actually construct a long lasting positive change that will impact the life and health of yourself and others through education and participation in the local food system.
I have to admit; I am going to jump on this band-wagon but not without a bit of discernment. As the trend takes flight, it becomes increasingly more difficult to distinguish what is helpful from what is superficial and figure out how to get involved, learn and make a difference in a way that matters. The necessity and significance of this movement is hard to ignore, but I want to make sure that my goal to get more involved leads me to a genuine outlet where I care about what I am doing, why I am involved, and how the process will make an impact.
For many of us looking to get more involved the first step can be intimidating, but joining tons of organizations, giving huge donations and making extreme commitments are certainly not necessary to get more involved in the community and educated about your local food system. Choosing one simple but meaningful outlet, even if it may not be the most popular or well-known way to get involved, is a realistic and constructive way for every individual to take a step in a positive direction that is sure to make a difference.
For me, choosing something that I can work into my schedule without feeling stressed, finding something a little off the beaten path that interests me, but does not already have a waiting list miles long, and feeling passionate about what I invest myself in are the most important factors in finding the right opportunity. When I learned about the new Seattle Slow Food book Club, it seemed to be a perfect fit.
Reading is something I love to do, especially when it is about food, health, sustainability, gardening, and farming. While it is something I can do on my own time, the camaraderie of knowing that others are out there reading and pondering the same topics draws me in. Discussions sound inviting, encouraging, and I look forward to the challenge of discussing other interpretations of the text and how to put these topics into play in real life.
Not only can I meet others with similar interests and stretch my brain around new topics and texts, I can also be involved in the larger community movement around slow food, sustainability, health and eating locally. The education of those who chose to get involved will make a difference in individual lives as well as community progress towards a better food system.
This is just one of many ways to get involved in the community and take action to make a difference in the food system that supports it. Depending on your passions and skill set you may chose to cook in a community kitchen, join a garden coop, get some friends together to clean up your neighborhood, host a potluck to discuss how you and your community members can take action or take classes on urban homesteading. Whatever it is, make it your passion and put your heart into it. Enjoy the learning and involvement process and take pride in your part in making a difference.
For more information on the Slow Food Book Club visit:
Here are a few more ideas to check out:
I would love to hear from you. Please share information about your favorite community food system organizations or some other ideas you have about getting involved. Thanks!