Cultivating A New Agricultural Revolution: An Interview With Michael Ableman
When we focus on regional production and regional distribution, the issues around the use of chemicals and other materials resolve themselves. It’s as simple as standing across the table at the farmers’ market from the person who’s growing your food. Ultimately the basic health of the food system is not about laws; it’s about relationships: interpersonal, ecological, and biological. The people who eat my food don’t need a legislative act to know that what I’m providing is safe to eat. They know me, and they know my farm. That, to me, is the best form of certification. It’s based on outdated ideas like honor and trust.
Dogs on roofs. I noticed them the first time I visited my girlfriend in Chiquimula, a large town in the dry, eastern part of Guatemala: Small black dogs, beady-eyed and yappy. Collies with lion-like manes. German shepherds with enormous tails. They peered over the roof edges, growling, barking, or silent and majestic against the blue sky.
Before the nose job, I often peered at myself in the large mirror above the sink in our family’s pink-and-black-tiled bathroom. I’d comb my straight, dark hair, adjust the collar of my black turtleneck, carefully apply my black eyeliner, then stare at my reflection and sigh. An amalgam of my parents’ noses, mine was long and sad, like a Jewish prayer. It was a problem.
The Saturday my fingers were mauled I distinctly recall black birds everywhere. They clung to the electrical wires that draped from the several small outbuildings to the large red barn in the center of the farm. The birds called from the walnut trees and hopped among the combed-over swatches of fescue in the steaming pasture.