The Road From Selma

SelmaA bit over a week ago I saw the best movie I’ve had the pleasure of watching in ages. The movie was Selma, directed by Ava DuVernay and starring David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King, among others. I found the film overwhelming, not only due to its subject matter (it chronicles the political tensions and personal stories of those involved in the march from Selma, Alabama to the state’s capital of Montgomery in 1965 to protest the barriers the state erected to prevent African-Americans from registering to vote), but also because of the bigotry and hatred it portrayed some of the white antagonists as having. I left the theater angry, not because I thought the ticket a poor investment – it was the best $9.75 I’ve spent in a long time – but because it reminded me of how perilously short the strides made in the United States have been with respect to institutional racism.  Continue reading The Road From Selma

The Wheel

WheelAlas, I have finally returned to the blogosphere after polishing off two of my fall classes. I teach food system courses at the University of Vermont, and this fall taught Barriers to Local Food and The Real Cost of Food. I posted final grades for both courses at the end of last week, so now I’m a free man again… sort of. The two sections of Agriculture and Energy that I’m teaching for Green Mountain College’s online Masters in Sustainable Food Systems program are heading into their home stretch, and that course will finish up on December 22. Then I’ll really be a free man… until classes at UVM start up again in mid-January.  Continue reading The Wheel

Thinking of plants

Poison IvyYears ago, while walking north along a trail not far from my home, something drew my attention to the carpet of green on my right. Knowing the area was littered with wild strawberries I scanned the ground hoping perhaps I’d glimpsed a ripe berry in my peripheral vision. Rather than finding tasty edibles, I instead found a plant I knew all too well. As I knelt a safe distance from a sizable patch of poison ivy, this plant, one that had been the bane of my existence all of my life, that had even sent me to the hospital on one occasion, offered me an invitation that would change my life.  Continue reading Thinking of plants

Energy and the future of food

African BushmenThis essay is about food. As human beings, we’re all engaged in a great game wherein we must exert effort to find food, to avoid starvation. If we excel at this game we’re graced with the privilege of survival; we live and grow, we raise children, we perpetuate our species. In general we’re very good at this game, having outrun myriad predators, persevered through floods and droughts, and shivered through many ice ages. As we ease into the 21st century the rules of this game are changing, though. The problems we must overcome procuring food over the next 100 years will differ from those we’ve faced before, both in their complexity and their magnitude. This essay will explore some of those problems, hopefully opening a window through which we might gain a better view of the future of food.  Continue reading Energy and the future of food