As it is the middle of summer and most of us have a bit more free time, I have a few interesting suggestions that you might like to read. Each was recommended to me by friends at Haverford House which is another project sponsored by Haverford’s Center for Peace and Global Citizenship (the same that helped me design this internship). Basically, six recent Haverford graduates are selected to live together in Philadelphia and are partnered with non-profit organizations devoted to various social causes where they work four days a week. On the fifth day, they design their own project to relate their work to Haverford and the greater community. If you get the chance, you should read their blog, which is both captivating and illuminating. (blogs.haverford.edu/haverfordhouse/)
Knowing that I am passionate about raw milk and its rejuvenative properties, Joe Anderson first suggested this article from Harper’s Magazine (www.harpers.org/archive/2008/04/0081992). It tells the story of a Canadian Farmer who sold raw milk illegally to eager consumers, got caught, and fought back in court hoping to end the raw milk ban. It does a great job of addressing the various arguments for and against the unpasteurized product and like many of Harper’s articles, is a fun read.
The next two suggestions came from Mary Welsh, a close friend who will be working on the Witnesses for Hunger project next year. Interested in the juxtaposition of the United States’ cracked agricultural system and its effect on urban nutrition, she will be designing a curriculum of readings meant to empower single mothers in “food insecure” households, essentially homes where hunger is an everyday reality.
Mary’s first suggestion, “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver, Steven Hopp, and Camille Kingsolver, is the true story of a family that decided to live for an entire year consuming food produced solely within a one hour driving radius. The book recounts both the joys and difficulties of living locally and is hard to put down. In addition to the main narrative, Steven Hopp (Kingsolver’s husband) adds short essays on the problems of the American food system, and Camille Kingsolver (their daughter) provides recipes and short stories. Overall, it is an enjoyable summer read because it introduces the reader to some of America’s issues while maintaining interest with a great stroy.
Mary’s second suggestion is a New York Times article that examines how the bulk of European farm subsidies have been devoted to rural developement instead of going to the farmer’s themselves. (www.nytimes.com/2009/07/17/business/global/17farms.html?_r=1&ref=business) The article, like many of Alain Blancart’s insights on French subsidies, underscores how the subsidy systems in the United States and Europe have grown to the point that they no longer accomplish their original goal of helping the farmers but instead, aid larger, industrial firms.
Whether or not you have the time to take a look at the readings, I strongly suggest that you visit the Haverford House blog. All six individuals are working on fascinating projects and going out of their way to let us read (and see with photos) what they are doing.
Otherwise, life continues to go well here at the Moulin Ruel. More to come later this week on the progress in the garden and on the chevrarie.
Thank you to Mary and Joe,