The other day a friend asked me that question. After reading about our Eat Local 2011 project she called me up and ask "Why? Why are you starting a new CRAZY project? Can't you just enjoy your life, and maybe finish some things (like painting your house, saving your old barn, mowing your grass, making more fudge, etc)? Why this project? Why now? I liked your blog so much better when you wrote about your kids, your goats, Mouse Wars, gardening, remodeling, etc. This Soapbox stuff is no fun to read."
Why? For me there are two main reasons, security and health. There are lots of "green" or "save the world" reasons that could be listed, but they don't motivate me to do more than talk, write, and dabble. This project is being done for purely selfish reasons.
We are highly dependent on a very fragile, over-stretched food system. We have no control, no real choice, no real voice in the system. And the system is crumbling. Soil has been killed, diversity has been lost, and the whole thing has been propped up with oil (another fragile system...) As I see food prices rising every day and more breakdowns in the production and delivery systems, I feel less than secure. In fact, I'm afraid for myself and my family. The only solution is to reclaim responsibility for our own food. The way to do that is by creating a local food system. That can't be done by talking or writing. It can only be done by active commitment. We produce what we can, we get the rest from others in our community. That supports them and provides security for each of us. When the system crashes or crumbles, we will be OK.
Fresh, natural, whole foods in season are vital to good health. The food being produced in our industrial food system, even with all the "nutrients" added to the final product, don't promote health. The whole system is focused on producing more, cheaper food. There is no thought given to health except as a marketing tool. Being part of a local fresh natural food system is an important step toward being responsible for our own health.
I guess that under my two reasons there is a third, more important reason. That is responsibility. I am responsible for what I do in the world. The only thing I can really change is what I do. So, this project is about taking responsibility for the food aspect of my life. I'm dragging my family along on this one, and blogging about it to encourage you.
That's why we are doing this project now.
(the other projects, paint, barns, etc will continue and will get some blog time too... As for Mouse Wars, it's rather like the Korean War. It hasn't really ended, we skirmish back and forth across the DMZ every day. There are minor losses on both sides, but it doesn't often make the news.)