Occupy Yourself

This past year, with learning about our unethical food system, I really began to question our government. How can our government allow international corporations, like Monsanto, to treat people and our environment so poorly? Why aren’t our food system issues a bigger part of the 2012 Presidential campaign?

People need to know about the unethical corporations and corporate greed. You need to see the environmental and political effects of these corporations. That’s what the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) demonstrations are doing. Showing the world a group of people are sick of the way things are being run and they want changes to happen.

With my feelings toward Monsanto I had to asked myself- what products does Monsanto have that I am consuming? A lot! My diet has been crap, I know it and I have not been able to get off my fat ass to do anything about it. I am supporting Monsanto! Not with my heart, with my actions.

My question is this: How do corporations, good and bad, effect your life? It’s a deep question! Cars, clothes, medicine, food, entertainment, etc… Are there any goods you buy that are not tied to a corporation?

Without HUGE policy changes in our country, corporations will not change without without a huge grassroots campaign. This means taking steps back from their products. Is that possible? What would something like that look like?

First and foremost not everyone would be on board with it. A small group of people would honestly live a life off the corporate grid and some people would do a very half-assed job at it. We would need to be a lot more “locavore.” We would need relationships with people who made the products we use- farmers, tailors, herbalists, carpenters, performers, etc…

If we think about those people who live off the corporate grid, what do we think? They’re outside the cultural norm. 

I put two and two together when I was thinking about this stuff. I want this blog to be: from scratch, local and creative. I want to see how I could live without the help of corporations. Look at my past posts; I made a drink from roots in my yard, I buy eggs from people in my neighborhood, I eat weeds, I sign up to kill farm animals with the guidance of local farmers, I want to make my own medicine… Yes I am outside the cultural norm, but I have a hunger to see what I can do myself. 

We need to ask ourselves some hard questions on how we really want to live our lives, what we buy and our desire to be free from corporate corruption.

The businesses run by corporations provide us something huge: convenience. We can go to the store to buy ready to use goods. That’s huge- That is America! It is very difficult to free ourselves from that convenience.

I don’t think we need to completely go off the corporate grid. We would need to know good and bad corporations and we would need to give credit to the ethical corporations out there.  

What would it look like to START to life off the corrupt corporate grid? We would need a deeper sense of community. Get out and start relationships in your neighborhood. We would need to develop skills or multiple skills to help ourselves and our community. We would need to be able to buy and sell used goods. We would need to be more active in the informal economy. We could barter for services. We would need to give back to our community with volunteering. Most of all we would need to draw back our materialism. Our culture loves stuff. It would be very difficult to deny ourselves some goods. We live in America, it’s our right to have too much. 

Unethical corporations and government can suck it. But it is going to be a huge, long battle to fight them. I am not saying we need to be all-in with leaving the corporate grid, but we need to take a closer look at some of these issues.

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A Simple Step

By January 2010 I was exposed to the Whole Foods Diet and I appreciated the simplicity of it. That is having a diet that would be more similar to someone who lived 150 years ago versus today. A diet with food from a sustainable farm: fruits, vegetables, dairy products, meats, herbs and medicinal plants. All organic, homemade, grass-fed, free range and humanely treated. A process of a living farm that took knowledge and love to run.

As I got further into the diet I started to realize how I was romancing this image and how much different it is in our culture today. I have been challenged by lots of questions and issues ranging from: industrial organic farms, cage free chickens, medicinal plants, seed saving, food foraging, guerrilla gardening, dumpster diving, Monsanto, cannabis, food market co-ops, local food, supermarkets, animal slaughtering, cultural respect, urban farms, convenient foods, restaurants, raw food and seasonal eating… The list is very long! What I eat is something I am thinking about several times a day. It has been challenging to my values and challenging the reasons I have been eating the traditional American diet.

This is a blog to let out some of that frustration and to help keep me accountable to myself. I am the stereotypical overweight American. With a standard American diet, I will continue to gain weight, gain more heath problems, continue to dislike my weight and I will eventually be overtaken by heart failure. I am looking to take a stand against that part of our culture and to enjoy a long healthy life with my family. I am looking for support and for people to let me know I am not alone.

For the name Rubus-Raspberry, that is what was available from this site. One of my favorite experiences from 2010 was picking raspberries. We have several raspberry plants in our yard I got fruit from. I decided to make a simple jam with the fruit and turbinado sugar but I came up several cups short from what I needed. My oldest daughter and I went to a park here in Saint Paul and foraged several pints of wild black raspberries. We came home and made a large batch of jam, we saved a few jars but we gave most of the jam to our friends and neighbors. It was a learning experience I was privileged to share with my daughter.