1. We don't only eat food. We eat cars. We eat houses. We eat streets. We eat music. We eat laughter. We eat freedom. We eat souls. We eat one another alive.
2. On the other hand, food is a good place to start.
3. Vancouver! Like you, we are uncomfortable with manifestos! And yet we do feel strongly about the following:
4. Food should not only be something that you eat, but something that you do.
5. This is not about being a "foodie."
6. Were your grandparents foodies? Is a farmer a foodie?
7. This is about history. This is about immigrants from Europe who carried their sauerkraut-pressing rocks to this new land because they couldn't be sure they would find rocks that would do the job as well. This is about immigrants from Asia who came with seeds in their pockets because it is seeds, not money, that guarantee life on earth.
8. But this is also about money, in that we have traded the hours we once spent finding, growing, preparing and preserving our own food for longer hours on the job to earn the money to buy convenience food.
9. Are you satisfied with the tradeoff?
10. This manifesto is mild-mannered. It does not call for a revolution, only small changes.
11. You might start a garden. Or make beer. Or dig for clams. Or plant a fruit tree. Or make jam, make pickles, grow herbs, keep chickens, hunt deer, pick berries, bake bread, tap a maple tree, turn your front lawn into a potato patch.
12. Plant a field of edible flowers! Get to know your mushrooms!
13. No need to do all of these things, just one or two of them. Let someone else keep bees or milk the cow. Maybe your calling is to make caramels with the honey and the cream.
14. Make enough to share. Absolute self-sufficiency is anti-social.
15. Small steps are enough. They are enough to begin the long process of withdrawal from a system that wants to sell us everything we once did for ourselves or with the people around us. A system that asks us only to eat, eat, eat.
16. One rule: Never trust your food to a system that you can't explain to a child. (Because suppose one day you had to.)
17. Maybe we are talking about a revolution after all.
[Editor's note: This is part of the Vancouver Art Gallery's WE: Vancouver -- 12 Manifestos for the City exhibit, which runs through this Sunday, May 1. We publish it as part of our series WE: Vancouver: Voices from the Exhibit.]
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