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Small Matters

Amazon just got a bunch of tax breaks to come into cities, drive up rents, and suck unfathomable amounts of money into the hands of a few higher ups and investors, while further consolidating commerce into a stale, tasteless, soul-crushing corporate business-as-usual. So maybe I can get on board with something like a cell phone being made and shipped all over the world--there are only a few models to choose from and choose we do, lining up like lemmings for the next new release.

But some things are different, unable to be authentically mass-produced and consolidated, and most of us can tell the difference. Seeds come immediately to mind for me, of course, as does food, music, art, social interaction and counsel, among others. They form the backbone of culture. They are nimble and responsive to the immediate needs of a place and time. They are interesting, inviting our care and attention in a visceral way. They are ancient, connecting us with our past and giving us hope for our future.

These artifacts of culture when mass-produced lose their intrigue. The farmer's market becomes the fluorescent lit box store. The open mic night or street battle becomes Top 40 radio, and it becomes harder for us to connect with our community. We can feel more isolated and lonely when these things are missing in our lives, more hopeless and disempowered to affect change when it feels like everything is getting bigger, more streamlined, and farther away.

For me, one of the most compelling things we can do to combat these feelings is to focus on bringing back home some of these bastions of human culture, to reconnect and remind us of the innate goodness and capability of ourselves as unique individuals working together in our unique place on earth. We are in some ways powerful beyond measure, able to alter the course of history and create tangible, lasting impact.

This is why I work with seeds. They are tiny and portable, able to travel with us as the world changes. While climate change is in most ways out of my control, planting and saving seeds each year is not. And even though I can't solve the root of climate change, those seeds I sow will continue to take in information about their changing environment and reconfigure their DNA to keep pace with it. They'll be able to feed me and my loved ones well into an uncertain future, and keep me damn interested, connected, and in love while we do it.