|A HEALTHIER FOOD SYSTEM IS POSSIBLE
By Grace Lee Boggs
Michigan Citizen, July 6-12, 2008
My friend, James Godsil, is a poet and roofer who lives in Milwaukee,and works closely with Will Allen, the retired basketball player who is known nationally and internationally for Growing Power, the 2-1/2 acre urban farm with five greenhouses which /x-tad-bigger>produces over 100,000 pounds of chemical-free vegetables a year and is also a fish farm.
To date, Will has taught farming and food processing to more than 1,000 students and helped launch more than 25 urban gardens, some in the poorest counties in the U.S.
/bigger>/bigger>For example. Sharon Adams has eliminated blight and reclaimed her Walnut Way neighborhood not far from Growing Power with youth community gardening programs /x-tad-bigger>developed by Will Allen.
“/bigger>/bigger>We’re not just growing food, we’re growing communities," says Will.
Godsil is the webmaster for Milwaukee Renaissance and works tirelessly not only to spread the good news about Growing Power but to create a national network of urban farmers as the surest way to rebuild and respirit 21st century U,S. cities. See www.milwaukeerenaissance.com/BillSell/AnUrbanManifesto/
e has also created a cooperatie
Greta Gladney is the executive director of The Renaissance Project in New Orleans,. Her project works with the Farmers Market in the Upper Ninth Ward. T/x-tad-bigger>he New Orleans Food and Farm Network envisions a vital community that values its agricultural and culinary heritage by celebrating regionally and sustainably produced food and ensuring its access to everyone.
/x-tad-bigger>Last week Greta emailed me that she was going to be in Milwaukee. So I put her in touch with Godsil . He arranged for her to tour Growing Power and Walnut Way. One evening he organized a cookout at Alice’s Garden so that Greta could brainstorm with Milwaukee folks about worker-and community-owned cooperative enterprises to restore cities, green habitat transformation, urban farming, fish farming, and creating a Wiki. During the magical evening they also discussed plans for Milwaukee dwellers to visit New Orleans in January after Obama’s inauguration.
As a result, Greta is returning to New Orleans inspired and convinced that gardens, large and small, can have a similar transformative impact in New Orleans. And Godsil has written a new poem which begins
You know I'm movin to New Orleans,
I'm movin to New Orleans,
Gonna rent me a house
Grow me a farm
I'm movin to New Orleans.
Not gonna winter in Milwaukee,
No more winters in Milwaukee,
Gonna move on down South,
Gonna rent a battered house,
Help fix up New Orleans,
Help fix up New Orleans.
There's a freedom train a comin
There's a freedom train a comin
From Detroit, Milwaukee,
Chicago and St. Louis...
A freedom train's a comin
Cars with black gold from Milwaukee,
Filled with black gold from Milwaukee,
The world's finest soil,
Red wrigglers gifts to us,
We'll bring black gold from Milwaukee.
This is the kind of story I like to share these days when it is becoming clear that our whole food and farming system is sick. It is unsustainable because it is based on finite supplies of oil, whose use contributes to climate change. It is so industrialized and so controlled by agribusiness, that it has displaced millions of small farmers who end up in the slums of Third world cities.
Our industrialized food system is also causing health problems, like last year’s spinach-induced illnesses and this year’s salmonella–tainted tomatoes. Year in and year out, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, some cancers, and diabetes come from eating processed foods..
800 million people on this planet are starving, both for calories and nutrients , while one billion people are overweight, which means they are getting ample calories, but not necessarily nutrients.
/x-tad-bigger>That is why we need to grow our food closer to where people live, in a way that enhances rather than destroys the environment we depend on, and that safeguards our health.
And that’s why the Will Allens James Godsils and Sharon Adams in Milwaukee and the Greta Gladneys in New Orleans are so important. They are creating a movement for food safety and security. /color>
THINKING FOR OURSELVES
By Shea Howell
Michigan Citizen, July 8-12, 2008
This week Seymour Hersh published a story about the escalation of the drive to war with Iran. Writing in the New Yorker, where Hersh first exposed the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, he talks about the ‘Presidential Finding” requesting $400 million to finance covert operations in Iran designed to destabilize the leadership in Iran and to provoke Iranians into actions that would justify a U.S. attack.
Hersh reports that Bush and Cheney, convinced of their own righteousness, have asked for “permission for defensive, lethal activity,” complete with lists of “high value targets” to be killed or captured. In addition, the authorization supports funds for groups within Iran, mostly Sunni minorities, who will work against the Shiite government. At least two of these groups are currently on the U.S. terrorist list because of their ties to Al Qaeda.
This drive against Iran has been building for years. Unable to mount an argument that Iran had Weapons of Mass Destruction, especially after the National Intelligence Estimate said Iran did not have the capacity to make nuclear weapons and that they were not moving in that direction, the Bush administration tried to get us to believe that U.S. soldiers in Iraq were really being killed by Iranians. When that didn’t work, they said it’s Iranian weapons that are doing the killing in Iraq. That hasn’t worked either. So now, with a big push from Vice President Cheney, the Bush administration wants to goad Iran into some kind of action so that it can unleash the cruise missiles, war planes, and troops we have amassed around that country.
In what will undoubtably be one of the most shameful moments in history for the Democrats, party leaders, including Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and anti-war advocate John Murtha, have all gone along with this funding request. Barack Obama endorsed anti-Iranian rhetoric, trying to prove he’s tough on terror because he will not tolerate nuclear weapons in Tehran.
The amoral, diabolical nature of these covert operations is hard to grasp. At their core these efforts to authorize the killings of human beings who have done nothing to us are intended to “provoke” Iran. What exactly do our elected leaders think they are provoking this government toward? Hersh argues it would be toward actions that would justify an U.S. retaliatory attack. In short, our government is attempting to create and orchestrate actions by Iran that would be so devastating to American citizens, soldiers and allies that it would overcome the opposition of the more than 70% of the American people who now think that Iran is not a problem to us or anyone else. This outrage is almost beyond the capacity of words to convey.
But it is both predictable and ever more likely as Bush faces his waning days in office. The only thing that will stop him is a massive outcry from the American people. Many of us have already started to make our concerns known through local governments. More than 325 localities and states have passed resolutions aimed at bringing U.S. troops home from Iraq, Thirty-two days after Burlington, Vt. Mayor Bob Kiss started a petition among U.S. mayors to sign a resolution to stop a war with Iran, he has been joined by 32 other mayors. The resolution says a “pre-emptive U.S. military attack on Iran could well prove counterproductive to the cause of promoting freedom and democracy there.”
Resolutions at the local and state levels have done much to increase the opposition to this illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. But we must do much more if we are to stop the spreading madness of the Bush administration as it sees its power coming to an end.
The July 6-12 issue of the Michigan Citizen features an article on Invincible’s new Shapeshifters album /www.emergencemusic.net/ and includes Citizens Speak interviews outside Avalon bakery with Julia Putnam, Rich Feldman and Sabrina Nelson.