Eat Local? The Pioneer and the Colonizer

Sitting eating some tomatoes and blue potatoes from my friend’s farm, I started wondering what it would take to grow all one’s own food. After looking at a few pages on the blogosphere addressing this question, I realized – this is what pioneers/homesteaders did. In other words, colonizers. And I realized that the ideal of self-sufficiency is one of the primary myths used to justify (and green-wash?) colonization, and then it cemented – the western myth of the decontextualized individual, which often goes by the name of “Freedom”, is not just colonial because peoples were displaced and destroyed in order to make room for Lockean liberty, but because it as an idea disavows the primary importance of community. And maybe it did that because communities at that time were pretty unhealthy, socially pathological, not religiously tolerant, etc… (Or maybe that’s a myth, but what matters is how the story functions). So it’s never going to be enough to talk about personal sustainability, personal ethical judgements, personal choices about how to respond to contemporary ecological catastrophes – the problem is precisely that we try to respond to moral challenges alone, by separating ourselves from communities. If we stand any chance at decolonization, and at environmental survival, it will be by focussing on the spaces between us – our communities, our social-bonds. Without concretization inside social bonds, morality remains unconcretized, abstract.

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