It’s 1991. I am a college freshman. I’ve moved to a new town. I am just trying to find who I will be those formative years. So basically like all the Gen Z kids now (of who I have 3 of them), who are approaching and into adulthood. We were 100% Gen X. We had grown up so feral it wasn’t funny. Like so many young, I am leaning more liberal those years – possibly only to annoy my Father so we can scream at each other. By today’s standards I was really middle of the road with that. I will admit I voted for Bill Clinton for President that year, in the basement of a Catholic Church. My eternal shame.
Nah, I voted for him twice. Slick Willy was entertaining. And he wasn’t a crypt keeper, like all the old politicians now. But I digress, back to the story.
It’s fall of 1991 and I suck in my breathe, scared to enter an actual food co-op. It seems so scary. A secret hideaway. It’s in the old town, not at the shiny mall that had opened that year miles away, destroying some of the best farm land there, along the Skagit River in Washington State. It was kind of run down. And it smelled so weird.
Why it scared me? I have no idea. First, I thought you had to be a member to shop. And I guess because the people working there were real hippies, man! They had/were following the Grateful Dead! They had lived in the communes upriver in Magic Skagit! They were everything I had dreamed I would become. The women had flowing hair, not touched with hair dye. No makeup on. They smelled of BO and patchouli oil. I had a boyfriend and he was growing his hair out. We were just toooooo groovy. We had a little apartment on the top floor of a post WWI house, only a few blocks away.
But then I noticed they didn’t chase us away. They knew we were new. Every year you get a new crop of suckers, er, customers, ready to embrace the life. And oh how wonderful it was. I felt so welcome. Even if I couldn’t eat the scary salads they sold in the deli. Everything smelled and tasted like dirt back then. I nicknamed it the Hippy Hut™, and every time I am forced to eat quinoa it’s my joke we are visiting it. Or I reminisce about eating burritos on Shakedown Street at a Dead show.
I think this god awful Toyota Corolla 1980 Sport Wagon I bought for $300 cash says it all. Before Van Life was a thing, I had this crap mobile outfitted to camp in. Drove it up and down the West Coast till one day I went airborne in it and destroyed the transmission.
Back to the story. I was surrounded by people who were truly living the life. These were the older Boomers and some of the younger ones. They truly believed we could make a change.
They pushed to get recycling become a thing. They grew gardens. They wore second hand clothing. They sewed clothing. They even rolled their own smokes, of actual tobacco. They ate unprocessed food. Bought in bulk. Talked about legal hemp all night. Where I smelled my first essential oils and bought the crocheted pipe holder I wore around my neck, covered in patchouli oil.
I was wearing hemp hiking boots made with soles of recycled pop bottle plastic. I walked every where. I learned to ride the bus. I was making food from scratch. I was growing food on our neighbors roof over a highway. Those Boomers told me to save seeds, to take seeds from them. They were why I first sold at farmer’s markets in my mid-twenties. Their inspiration to me as a young woman fueled an entire destiny for me.
Life moved on, but things stayed with me no matter where I went. Every apartment or home had a garden. I sewed my clothing till my 30’s. I am 50 and I still believe in all of it. It’s why I homestead. It’s why I prefer to walk versus a car when I can. Why I grow food and preserve it. Why I believe in preserving heirloom seeds. Why so much is important to me as I am aging. That I can still be mostly self sufficient. That I can choose to not use those companies if I am willing to work hard, or pay more.
And honestly? I thought so many of them still saw life this way.
Oh I was so wrong. I read them wrong.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
Where did that go to? The Boomers loved saying that, over and over. I haven’t seen this logo in so, so long. Gen Z needs to rediscover it. They need to wear hiking boots of hemp, and their soles stamp this into the dirt with every step. Quit dying hair, go natural and till fields. Work for yourself versus asking for the government to do the hard work. I am trying so hard for my children to understand this. Our oldest is 26 now, an Elder Gen Z. The other day I realized…it’s seeped in, he gets it. He finally understands why I ask them to do such hard work. I felt like celebrating loudly on that win.
It was right up there with the other charmer:
The Non GMO Project was started in 2007, so you have to take a calculated guess it was Boomers behind it. Passionate about it. Food in the USA was changing at a rapid pace. Mono crops were taking over, and diversity was dying quickly. Activists were getting scared – they had to act before everything was GMO/bioengineered. And when no consumer would know, unless companies put the logo on their items, to let you know. At first I didn’t see the need, then after our youngest was born, with his severe food allergies…suddenly I needed to care and invest more of myself into our food production.
And it went on this way. The left leaning folk supporting organic food, the socially aware. Out trying to save farmland, supporting diversity in seeds. Many of the conservatives I knew didn’t care about any of this and rolled their eyes at me. They told me I was wrong that the glaciers were shrinking and we got less snow (which I saw every year with my own eyes hiking). They mocked me for growing food, for being a starter prepper. It was that weird line I walked. Vote conservatively, but have liberal views on the other stuff. And yeah, no one likes you when you walk both sides.
Truth is, I have always been a bit “odd”. And I am OK with that. I believe in things others don’t. It’s also why I am firmly politically non-binary these days. I am somewhere in the realm of a libertarian. Do no harm. But you also cannot deny what you see with your own eyes. Farming taught me that. Hiking taught me that. You watch the rain get less, the summers hotter. Then the rain comes at the wrong time. Early summer is cold and wet. I have charted it for over 10 years while growing food. Some days I wish I could go back our first house and the tiny garden I had – because I was so naive then.
And here’s the weirdest thing I have been noticing. First it started with the Pandemic. For me, and my family, very little changed. We had made the jump to a rural lifestyle 2 years before and had years of farming behind us. It was just another day, except our kids were at home with us. I got to work that winter and started growing even more food. I tried to show others why it mattered. I had trained for this! I came out of the closet as a prepper, and had no shame.
Suddenly it was all the conservatives I knew who cared. They came to us and asked us to teach them.
During those years, I noted so many people who I would have described as the people who had cared, they quit caring.
They became scared. They aged overnight. They were trapped by fear in their homes. They lost all their fire. No longer were they worried about loss of farmland, of loss of crop diversity. Instead they started praising multinational companies. They cried and wailed that they were dying and needed a miracle. That they deserved to go first for the vaccines. A lot of them sat alone. Drinking a lot of alcohol and smoking weed in my state. They demanded that the governor shut down state parks, restaurants, stores. But that the weed shops be allowed as a necessity.
I stayed outside and weeded rows on my farm. I sold plants. I traded seeds and plants. My energy was like a fever dream. I had come alive. It was what I had trained for, thanks to all those old hippies 30 years before. 18 year old Sarah had no clue 48 year old Sarah would spend days harvesting seeds. And filing them away to trade to others.
These people then started demanding everything come in plastic. Single use only. Otherwise it might be contaminated. No longer did they care where or how their food was processed. They wanted it dropped on their doorstep. And for the dropper off to be wearing gloves and a mask and to disappear just as quickly.
Now corporations were suddenly good, and to be praised. After all, they were promising new medicines and new foods! Just attach some kind of social justice to it, and they jumped in line to be first. It was like they regressed to a child, watching tv while Mom brought out a jug of Kool-Aid and Twinkies. It felt good. Hard work didn’t make them feel safe anymore.
And that is where it got so weird.
And in the last year particularly bad. I note how social media shows me things they want me to follow. How I should think. I am not shown often homesteading, self sufficiency skills, Trad Wives, gardening, prepping, preserving food and such. Instead I am constantly shown “suggested posts” of things I have no interest in.
Things like shopping at Target/Amazon, polyamory relationships, people who despise children, socialism, and more. Then more recently I am being shown almost nothing about food growing, and instead I get shown Threads “I should check out” (and no, I am not on Threads thank you very much) of things I have zero desire to see/read.
Today this one took the award:
With that intro….OK, let us delve in a bit. She’s cool with GMO’s and we should trust her because she has a PHD (hahahaha….that just means you showed and did your work to get that title – and tons of debt).
Oh, you call her out? Well, you’re an idiot.
Man, they are sucking on that GMO nozzle. “GMO’s are awesome!”
My hero, Mr. TomSawyer. He asks the most important question.
But don’t worry…Mr. Reallynothingtotell there, he’s a firm GMO’s ARE A GIFT nozzle huffer. His photo says scared younger Boomer or similar. They want things to be like when they were kids. And the world felt safer to them, while they drank Tang orange drink and ate Wonder Bread.
The Truth Is:
Back in the mid 2010’s when blogging was taking off, many bloggers were approached by Monsanto (now Bayer). They tried to offer as many bloggers as they could money to write puff pieces. I got multiple offers on my previous site, that was about cooking at home. I was offered up to $500 to do a piece, spewing how great Round Up and similar was. Well, except for they put in a survey…and if they saw you gardened you didn’t get an email back. Some bloggers made a lot (yes, this is searchable) and were even flown out to attend events. Those women sold their souls to Big Ag to get a small paycheck. Of course, some of these women also took paid gigs for $300 to model in adult diapers (and no, I am not joking…..these women were shameless). Bloggers were a catty lot back then. I used to go to blogger conferences just for the tea.
This one was major in exposing how they bought people to write positive things about products and GMO’s.
Let’s get out and learn from the experts (and reading this article reminded of the way BlogHer, an important site back then, heavily promoted GMO’s and Monsanto. Those pages don’t exist anymore…huh, what a shocker. I actually quit BlogHer back then over the promoted junk they were pulling).
Turned out all those elder Millennials would sell out for a tiny pittance. It was a harbinger of things to come. (And yes, I am right on the ages here – while I am Gen X, I was considered older as a female blogger in the “mommy blogger” years. But I had been an older mom. Most the women were younger than me.)
In 2014 this was a truth:
“Monsanto is the world’s largest seed company. They produce seeds for more than 20 crops, 4,000 varieties, and are sold in more than 160 countries. They boast 55 research-breeding stations around the globe. In the GMO realm, eight crops are approved in the United States: alfalfa, canola, corn, cotton, papaya, soybean, sugar beets, and squash. Monsanto dominates the market on two counts: It controls 80 percent of the seed market for GM corn and 93 percent of the GM soy seed market, according to Food and Water Watch.”
And while on paper Monsanto doesn’t exist anymore, it’s quite alive, as Bayer.
And this might be nearly 10 years old, it is far scarier now.
Today, four corporations — Bayer, Corteva, ChemChina and Limagrain — control more than 50% of the world’s seeds. These staggering monopolies dominate the global food supply. Bayer is still in the top 3.
So how did it become that less liberal folk suddenly became those who cared? And why is we are shouted down at so loudly? Told we are wrong! When we are right.
All I can say is: Please don’t quit caring. Don’t fold up like the heroes of my youth, who taught me the pathway. Keep growing food. Keep saving seed. Say no to GMO’s. No to herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides. Fight for a healthier world for our children and grandchildren.
Don’t be an unpaid schill for multi-national companies that care nothing about the Earth we exist in and on.
Don’t hate me for what I say. You know it’s the truth. No one will care for you (and your family) like you will. Eat as close to nature as you can.