Some Cerebral Stuffing: The Ecocentric Team Gives Thanks


‘Tis the season to be busy—and if you're like a lot of folks, your mind is buzzing with recipes, shopping lists and maybe mental preparation for some potentially awkward family moments. Maybe too, you've got one eye trained on the world at large and are troubled by the state of the economy and food system – both global and local -- and worrisome political prospects like pizza as vegetable and a very early secret farm bill.

As fast as things are moving, sometimes the best thing we can do is slow down and cultivate a positive outlook on the future by acknowledging our gratitude for the good things – good food, the farmers who grow it and others who work toward a greener, healthier, more delicious future.

So, the bloggers at Ecocentric took some time to reflect and offer you now second annual Thanksgiving roundup, in which we celebrate all we have to be thankful for in the world of sustainable food, water and energy. Care to join us? Come on down to the comments section and give a shout-out to the things that help keep you and the environment healthy.

  • James: I'm thankful for our friends at Vote Solar as they work to build the economies of scale necessary to bring solar into the mainstream.
  • Robin: I'm thankful for the ability to express my creativity through acting, writing and photography, and that I can use those mediums along with the technology at my disposal to educate people about environmental issues.
  • Kyle:With the world’s population now officially at about 7 billion people, I'm grateful that the organizers of the Bonn2011 Conference for fostering discussion about the issues of food, water and energy security and how the three are interrelated.   As the conference website notes: “Global Trends such as population growth and rising economic prosperity are expected to increase demand for energy, food and water which will compromise the sustainable use of natural resources. Besides positive effects, this pressure on resources could finally result in shortages which may put water, energy and food security for the people at risk, hamper economic development, lead to social and geopolitical tensions and cause lasting irreparable environmental damage.”
  • Peter:I'm grateful that the vast majority of other Thanksgiving-celebrating Americans are really, really into renewable energy.  A recent poll found 9 out of 10 think it’s important that we develop and use solar power, and 8 out of 10 said the federal government should be investing in solar.  Now if Congress would actually listen to the people they represent…
  • Kai: I'm thankful for all the various coalitions, organizations and people working hard to improve the United States' flagging water infrastructure and water quality oversight – building blocks of our modern society – despite a pervasive sense of neglect when it comes to clean water.
  • Dawn: I am thankful for the attentionthat has been brought to GMO MIS-labeling in the US -- it is our right to know, we need to have our food labeled!
  • Jennifer: I am thankful for everything I have learned while at Sustainable Table, as well as through the campaign Meatless Monday, about the importance of meat reduction and choosing sustainably-produced animal products.  I am now healthier and taking steps to positively affect the environment by voting with my fork—and educating others so they can do so as well.
  • Erin: I'm thankful for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs this year more than ever. This CSA season, a few of us split a full share from Monkshood Nursery who were so hit so hard by Hurricane Irene they had to cancel all shares for the remainder of the season after the storm. We were sad to miss our last few shares but happy to support a farm through such a hard time. I'm fortunate to be able to support farmers this winter, too, through a cheese CSA through Cricket Creek Farm.  And of course, I'm grateful for the food, and for friends to share it with. Every Sunday I gather with friends for dinner, a tradition fed by a friend’s CSA share from Local Roots. CSAs are a wonderful way to support your local food system!
  • Chris: I'm thankful for innovation within the Good Food movement – from rooftop farms to food system mapping to food bank gardens to the Farmarazzito Food Corps to food hubs, new and creative approaches to daunting challenges are transforming the food system in exciting, inspirational ways.
  • Jamie: I'm grateful for phytoremediation.  (Look it up. No, really, do) 7.1% of New York City’s land is vacant; the national average ranges from 15-45%. The idea of brownfields becoming verdant is so beautiful in so many ways. Speaking of reuse… the growing design fad of upcycling(which used to be mostly plain old adaptive re-use) is wonderful. And how about we share a holiday toast: let’s thank our lucky stars that we are among the appoximately 60% of people alive who have access to clean water.
  • Rich: I'm thankful for the fact that the good food movement has decisively pervaded mainstream media and captured the attention of consumers. Whether the focus is on the environment, economics, health or just plain delicious locally sourced food, Americans are becoming increasingly aware of the issues every day. It’s gratifying to play a role in opening the public’s eyes, showing them the path away from conventional toward sustainable food production and awakening their taste buds along the way.
  • Destin: I'm thankful that we as a society and as a food movement are using this challenging period of economic insecurity to grow into a deeper sense of communion, connection and collaboration among all.
  • Leslie: I'm thankful for Our Heroes and would echo food journalist hero Mark Bittman’s "non-turkeys," too. Come to think of it, I'm thankful for all the decidedly non-turkey food issue writers, most of whose heroism often goes largely unsung: here’s looking at Kerry Trueman, Eric Schlosser, Tom Philpott, Dave Murphy, Naomi Starkman, Bonnie Powell, Paula Crossfield, Twilight Greenaway, Tom Laskawy, Helena Bottemiller, Kristin Whartman, and many, many more. I'm also thankful for the academics thought leaders like Marion Nestle, Joan Gussow and Parke Wilde (of course, all the way down this chain, the lines blur) and activists. Last but certainly not least, I'm grateful for the farmers and farmworkers, young and old, and the hands-on work of all of these people, for the way it helps build social, economic and environmental justice for everyone. We may live in interesting times, but we also live in inspiring times.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!