Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Power of Community - A Post in two parts - Part 2

This past weekend we had our Harvest Celebration at Roberts Roost. It is a time when we gather our friends from the community to share food, fire, and talents, and to enjoy each others company. Most of all it is a time to talk about everything and nothing, to share stories, to laugh, to give and receive support without any agenda. Out of these conversations around the fire two ideas arose that I need to explore.

The first is the power and importance of community as we take the road less traveled. I’ll be posting those thoughts on NDiN.

The second is the power of community to act. I’ll be posting about that on Roberts Roost.

Part 2 The power of community to ACT.

There were a couple of stories told around the fire about how community came together to help someone or do something. The details are not important, but the mechanism is. The informal network of communication and the willingness of individual people to do a little something just because it needs doing is one of the things that makes communities so powerful. Someone sees a need, makes a few calls and those folks each make a few calls and before you know it a large group is mobilized to solve a problem or meet a need. It is one of the things that makes a community work, a kind of glue that makes a community more than a group of people living in close proximity and shopping at the same stores. The stories reminded me of the power and speed of such a system.

While the party was going on I was cornered by various people and asked my opinion on Ohio Issue 2, 2009. I haven’t talked much about this issue because voting NO was pretty much a no brainer. (I’m discovering that people are not as cynical or paranoid as I am, so they didn’t automatically jump to the same conclusion on this issue.)

Issue 2 is an attempt by the big agribusiness groups (mostly chicken, egg, and pork producers, with some additional support from the dairy and veal producers) to use peoples fear of PETA and their belief in the wholesome, local, family farm myth to scare the voters into amending the state constitution and creating board (appointed by the Governor and heavily weighted to favor the status quo) to “establish standards governing the care and well-being of livestock and poultry in this state.” The backers paint a picture of a board made up of family farmers ensuring the continued quality and availability of locally produced food. Of the 13 board members only 3 slots are designated for “family farmers”, one appointed by the Governor, and one each for the House and Senate. The remaining members are either directly or indirectly agribusiness representatives. The proposal has very little to do with improving animal care or ensuring the continued future of local food. It is a power grab by big business intended to give them the ability to continue with their current model. It gives local farmers and local residence no say in the future of food in this state.

I know that election day is only one week away but I’m putting out a community call to rally people to vote NO on Ohio Issue 2.

If you are an Ohio voter call all your friends and get them to vote NO. If you know any Ohio voters call them and talk to them about voting No on Issue 2. Lets use the power of community to keep the power to make good food choices in the hands of the people, not in the hands of politically appointed representatives of big Agribusiness.
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