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Anti-Organic Confluences

The Organic Confluences Summit, discussed in my June 1st post, was such an affirming experience--I came home full of optimism and ideas. That sunny outlook got a good swift kick a few days after my return, when I went off to complete a rush inspection assignment in Toledo, OH. Looking around, it occurred to me that I was witnessing an opposite kind of confluence. The client I visited is located in Toledo’s Port Authority, which sits at the confluence of oil pipelines and the last port of the St. Lawrence Seaway--a no-nations “free trade” zone where anything goes, tariffs don't apply, and nobody's watching. Disparate commodities are transported through this hub; sugar arrives by boat, oil by pipeline, and both are shipped out by rail after being refined. Both feed our addictions to hydrocarbons and carbohydrates cheaply and dangerously. The vista before me evoked a line from the Epilogue of Organic Revolutionary: “The addictive qualities of both refined carbohydrates and refined hydrocarbons is not a coincidence.”

What I saw in Toledo was a small hint of the massive infrastructure and “sunk costs” of our economy dedicated to such anti-organic, life depleting energy and non-food systems. Sometimes it is worthwhile to leave my Vermont bubble, where organic food and clean water are (largely) assumed. Lots more to think about, and a long road still ahead to get to that “free, enlightened society, united in diversity and joyful in working together for the benefit of all beings and the health of the planet.”


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