Week Twenty-Three: The Kind of Person

Between my house and the city of Jefferson sits a modest brick house on top of a little hill. The property has some mature maple trees, a couple of barns, and some ratty-looking fencing around what might once have been a large pigsty or a chicken coop; it’s gotten pretty overgrown, so it’s hard to tell. For the first several years that I lived here, the house seemed empty, and I guessed that the property had been abandoned. Maybe it was one of the properties that the state purchases so that they can tear it down someday when they need to realign or widen the road.

Last summer, though, I noticed a red pickup truck parked near the back door, then another car. Over time I could see that the grass was being mowed regularly. In the fall a little table appeared by the mailbox, piled with colorful ornamental gourds for sale on the honor system. So, apparently a couple or family had moved in and was going to make something of the place. Cute.

This spring there were…goats. And maybe some sheep. The property is on a sweeping curve, so it’s hard to get a good look.

And now there is a sign announcing that it is operating as a CSA.

“I’ll have to check that out,” I thought when I saw the cute sign. “After all, I support CSAs.”

Actually, though, I don’t support CSAs. Not because I think that they’re stupid, or misguided, or anything of the sort. But I can’t say that I support them if I’m not signed up with a farm, that’s why. If you don’t act on your beliefs, you can’t claim to be “the kind of person” who has those beliefs. You are just a person, and you are taking action or you are not. And in this case, it is something you must support with your wallet — theory is not enough.

Busy Barns Farm at the Fort Atkinson Farmer’s Market.

Do you support the local Farmer’s Market if you don’t shop there? Are you a runner if you don’t run? Are you a poet if you don’t actually write down any poems? Do your actions — your actual actions in reality, not the ones you “know are right” or the ones you want to do someday — align with your beliefs?

To state things more clearly, I think Community-Supported Agriculture is a wonderful, progressive, and healthy thing. I am thrilled that there are small farmers just miles away from me who are selling directly to the customer. I would very much like to stop by this place sometime, see what they offer, and maybe sign up. But as of right now, I’m not supporting it. Right now I’m usually buying groceries at Wal-Mart even though I’m not proud of that. It’s close, it has everything from shampoo to baseball gloves to DVDs to produce, but every time I’m there it pains me that I’m giving this company my money. But by my actions, that is what I’m supporting. That, right now, is “the kind of person” I am.

I don’t really want to be that kind of person. Now, how do I change that?

I change that by knowing what I really need and using what I have. I am tired of throwing out food that I bought because I wanted to use it… and then didn’t.

I change that by planning ahead. I am tired of going to the big box store every other day because I forgot one thing, then remember another, then impulse-buy a third.

I change that by deciding what food we will eat, and what “food” (i.e. empty calories) we will no longer buy. I am tired of making sure I have bought the proper brand-name snacks and chips when I know we could do better.

I change that by exercising more and eating less, and more simply. I am tired of feeling uncomfortable and unhealthy in my skin.

I change that by learning new recipes, using different spices, and working with fresh food from the garden in my backyard. I am tired of providing “heat and serve” meals rather than real cooking.

I change that by pulling in to a new driveway and introducing myself to strangers. I am tired of letting anxiety dictate what I do.

I change that by getting out of my comfort zone in order to do something I know is worthwhile.

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Published in: on June 6, 2013 at 2:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

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