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What will help us move forward in our modern world? How can we truly harness and channel the goodness of human beings to create a better world for everyone? What rhetorical questions will best facilitate these answers?
For anyone living in a big city or even a relatively small town right now, it can be easy to see that many people living in close proximity to one another does not necessarily create a community.
Think of your immediate next door neighbors. What are their names? What are your interactions with them like? (If applicable).
The irony of living in a big apartment building or condo is the limited extent to which people will interact in socially meaningful ways despite there being no shortage of fellow human beings around with whom to develop relationships.
For home owners, does anyone remember the good old block party? Me neither. Halloween has come and gone and that's about as close to a neighborhood party as I've seen in my 30 years on Earth.
Genetically, we all have ties to a life of true community where we embodied the idea that it takes a village to raise a child. Small intimate communities where everyone helps out with their innate talents and skills towards their own greater growth and fulfillment as well as for the benefit of everyone around them.
Consider the isolationism built into the modern world. We live in separate dwellings, drive to work in our own cars, (or keep our eyes firmly on our own "smart"phones while using public transportation).
We work in our own office or cubicle, or perhaps simply work remotely from home. And yet, even then we may not truly feel at home or part of the world we inhabit. This is due largely to the erosion of true human relationships from our society which this article is attempting to heal.
If we strip away all the complications of the modern world we can realize that successful human communities involve coming together to mutually assure survival and hopefully "thrival." What we see now is too much competition, not enough cooperation. We compete for jobs we don't really want in order to pay taxes and bills that show no sign of relenting.
The local food movement is actually a key factor in beginning to restore the much needed village mentality and sentiment to our world. Consider the irrational happiness we can feel when strolling through a farmer's market. We see smiling faces, entrepreneurs proud of their products, and hard working families coming together in the heart of the village.
We can all relate to food and its cultural importance in our lives. In talking to several farming families they have all told me how fulfilling their lives are in terms of producing food and having a positive community impact. In spite of financial challenges and difficult physical labor involved, 100 percent of new farmers have told me they are overall very happy with their vocation.
We are used to being consumers in an economy that tells us what we "should" be buying. It is now more important than ever to reconnect with what it means to be a producer of our basic needs. Groups like March Against Monsanto are a good example of how people are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of local, sustainable food systems and breaking away from harmful practices that compromise the quality of what we eat.
Now is the time to begin restoring a sense of community and genuine human warmth in our lives, and the local food movement and farmers markets are a great way to start building that today.