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Beware, Cynicism

Let’s talk cynicism. The land where ideals and dreams go to die.

In Cynicism, why bother? Why bother with anything? Why bother trying? Because nothing will change anyway, so why spend the energy torturing yourself, burning yourself out for nothing? 

Photo by Michaela Kirvan, Hella, Iceland

When it comes to the Everest of climate change, it is not hard for the devil on my shoulder to convince me that I am better off in the land of Cynicism. My integrity demands more of me these days, however. I’m here because I believe the only way we are going to actually DO anything about climate change, (and no, I’m not about to tell you to replace your lightbulbs), is to change our relationship with nature. 

That’s it. That teeny tiny insignificant detail. 

“I believe the only way we are going to actually DO anything about climate change, (and no, I’m not about to tell you to replace your lightbulbs), is to change our relationship with nature. “

Ariana Hodes
The Human-to-Nature Relationship is FULL of Red Flags…

We’re in a toxic relationship with nature, and we have to change if we want to save the relationship. And, NBD, but since saving the relationship means literally saving our lives, not to mention the lives of all our descendants, I’d say there’s a hefty motivation present to want to change. But we can’t change other people. We can only change ourselves.

And we have to want to change in the first place. 

Photo by Girl with red hat on Unsplash
Our Favorite Catalyst of Change: Food!

What we CAN do, to effect change, is to invite people into spaces where they can explore what it feels like to change. For those of us who recognize climate change is also a justice issue–connected in a web to every social issue we face–food is the absolute foundational place to start. 

Food brings us together. If we all recognize the root of the problem is that we can’t talk to each other anymore, how could it make any more sense to involve food in the solution? To start there. To build a place–together–where we all feel comfortable, included, and fed? (Hint, Hint: join a food co-op in Nashville:)

Literally and figuratively fed with community, with a sense of place, of even more pride in our city because we walk our talk. Where we can feel the benefit of supporting farmers who treat the land with respect and care. Where we make that feeling available to everybody who walks through the doors. 

“Food brings us together…Literally and figuratively fed with community, with a sense of place, of even more pride in our city because we walk our talk.”

Ariana Hodes
The Weight of this World

There are massive challenges when it comes to food in this country: Farmland being bought up by conglomerates, farmers aging out more rapidly than there are those interested/able to follow in their footsteps, corporate seeds and chemicals everywhere (organic doesn’t mean what it used to mean…..), not to mention 90% of farmers in America are White, while the majority of farm workers are foreign-born paid below poverty levels to produce food, 40% of which is going to be thrown away, adding to landfill.

Photo by Jo-Anne McArthur on Unsplash

Then there’s the byproduct: those who live in close proximity to factory farms poisoning watersheds, soils, and the air they breathe. If you know anything about the history of housing/zoning laws in this country you’ll know it’s usually not rich, white people that are affected.

But listen, rich white folks aren’t getting out so easy. Poisoned water, soils, and air generally leads to poisoned food that even they can’t get away from; mercury in fish, lead in baby food, literally any chemical the USDA deems “safe” in certain parts per million….the bottom line is this affects all of us. 

Wow, the weight of cynicism really wants me to throw up my hands and run for the hills. But I refuse!

See ya later, Cynicism

I can see a system that supports young, minority farmers and workers that want to work in sustainable ways to benefit food and people. (One might almost say we ARE what we eat.)

I can see a place where the community dictates how things are run, figures out ways to include everybody in their community, benefit everybody in their community, as well as feed everybody in their community. 

It’s people like Tera Ashley, one of Nashville Foo Co-op’s newest board members, who are leading the charge to a more sustainable and connected ecosystem. Check out our community page to discover more leaders in this effort, those who are warding off the cynicism of this world.

Caney Fork Farms, TN

Many hands make quick work. Two brains are better than one. There are ways to make heavy loads light. As an artist interested in creative peacekeeping, I’m here to argue for creativity (dare I say fun!?),  as well as delicious ways to make those loads light. Let’s see what we can make if we commit to making it together, shall we?

Land Acknowledgement

The Nashville Food Co-op acknowledges what we call Nashville, Tennessee was and is the traditional homelands of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Shawnee Peoples, stewards of the land and waterways, and their various inhabitants, and who are still here in this place. Land and waterways that were and continue to be stewarded by the Abenaki and Penacook people is land that was more than likely commandeered, and it’s important to remember that legacy whenever we’re talking about land and the caring of it.

About the Author

Ariana Hodes is a performing artist by training—acting and singing since she could walk and talk. She is a photographer, videographer, writer, traveler, bartender, reader, and imbiber of media except for horror. Not gonna do it. She finds spirit in nature and thinks it was no coincidence she ended up working on a small natural farm in NH during the height of the pandemic learning from the best kind of 3rd-generation steward of her land.

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