Readers Forum

Reader responses to our Spring 2009 issue, on Food for Everyone.


A Delectable Issue

Your Spring 2009 issue provides an excellent overview of what needs to be done to provide sufficient fresh food for everyone. For those of us in the Shasta Cascade area of Northern California, it arrives at an opportune time.

A group of us have come together to help people through the food crisis. We are farmers, ranchers, urban gardeners, county health workers, educators, agricultural advisors, slow food eaters, and some general rabble rousers. We have chosen the name Shasta-Cascade Farm Food Coalition. We are providing micro-loans to small producers, and helping to develop neighborhood gardens.

Our vision is to create a healthy, sustainable, accessible local food system from seed to table and back to soil. Thanks for a delectable issue.

Wayne Kessler, Shingletown, CA



Food Co-ops Neglected

I’m an avid YES! supporter all the way from New Zealand! Even here on the other side of the world, people are discovering your magazine and taking inspiration from it.

However, despite many excellent articles, as usual, I feel that your Spring issue does not do justice to the food cooperative movement.

Food co-ops are owned and operated by their members. They are an ideal outlet for locally grown and locally made foods. Profits made by the co-op must go back into the operation itself, so there is no profiteering, and co-ops can be responsive to their members’ health and nutrition needs. In my view, there is no better vehicle for advancing the food needs of the community.

Joel Hildebrandt, Auckland, New Zealand



Kitchen Revelations

Thank you for inviting me into Rajinder’s kitchen.

I lead a mental health group where all members weigh between 200 and 500 pounds. Through our group, they explore addiction, compulsion, abuse, grief, and loss. They frequently voice the feeling that they eat to fill an all-consuming need that goes unmet in our culture.

If I were visiting Rajinder’s rasoi, I would notice things desperately missing from my culture: feeling grounded by the land and generations of tradition; trusting that those who grow my food do so with love of community; nourishing my body in that spirit of love.

I was raised in a culture that values money above all else. Instead of vegetables, my siblings and I ate macaroni and cheese. Now I attempt to grow fresh vegetables, or buy them from co-ops or farmers markets. I feel so much better when I eat in a grounded way.

As we face the economic crisis—caused by eating, spending, and working in a spiritually bankrupt way—I hope we will learn to engage in more of the activities Madhu Suri Prakash describes.

I expect our culture to begin exploding with new activities, models of health, and means to support each other in being who we really are. In fact, according to the pages of this very positive magazine, we are already doing a phenomenal job of redefining our culture!

Cindy Franklin, Olympia, WA



Meat Eating Is Inhumane

In “Restoring the Range,” YES! airs both sides when only one side makes Earth-sense. Forget humane treatment of animals —I will not. You need to write about the amount of Earth resources it takes to create any pound of meat. We need to feed people—not animals raised in torture whose short lives end in inhumane slaughter.

Marie Spearman, Bainbridge Island, WA



Don’t Blame Meat

I find one piece of information in your article, “8 Ways to Support the Local Food Movement,” misleading. You write that 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions are caused by meat production.

Multi-species meat production, like that developed by Joel Salatin at Polyface Farm, decreases greenhouse gas emissions via carbon sequestration in the topsoil.

For the record, I am an omnivore. I have been a market grower for 14 years selling all that I produce in my small town in the mountains of western North Carolina. Because of their larger carbon footprints, in lieu of large centralized farmers’ markets we support small, local, tailgate markets.

Harry Hamil, Black Mountain, NC



Detroit’s Gardens

My copy of YES! just arrived. I was intrigued by “Fresh from the City” and “Oasis in an Urban Food Desert.”

I would like to bring to your attention yet another effort. In the city of Detroit, there are 60,000 or so vacant lots. More than half of these belong to the city, which is primarily interested in trying to bring back an auto industry that will never return. The citizens of Detroit have taken things into their own hands. They are planting community gardens and urban farms (now numbering over 400, I believe) on nominally city-owned land.

This is a beautiful example of what could happen if and when our culture and society more or less collapses. Grace Lee Boggs, now in her 90s, says: “We are the leaders we’ve been waiting for.”

Daniel Bull, Scituate, MA



Your Creative Solutions in Tough Times

Our February online newsletter asked readers this question:
“What are you doing to make it through the economic downturn?”

Paul Opperman: I am working with a small committee of volunteers to put on a winter farmer’s market in Dubuque, Iowa. It is a community building event, plus it has really increased the income for the 25-30 farmer vendors we have every week.

More of your solutions at



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