By Falon French

During my first month with HEC (way back in the dark ages of the Bush presidency) one of the Lafayette area regional councilors sent me an article on the failure of the environmental movement.  In this article, all of the legal loopholes that allow corporations to poison our air and water were spelled out in excruciating detail.  From the tone of the article, you would think that environmentalists had wasted their time and their lives.

But I am constantly amazed by the progress we are making in the lives of individuals.  When you look at real people instead of just numbers and statistics, you can see real change happening around you.  I was lucky enough to get just such a reminder this Saturday at Epworth United’s Hoosier Farm and Garden dinner.  The entree of the dinner was the antibiotic and growth hormone-free BBQ pulled pork provided by the Epworth Green Team, and all other attendees were asked to bring a dish to supplement the meal.

Wow!  I have traveled all over the state and eaten in some very good restaurants, but nothing compared to this feast!  Every dish featured locally grown foods, and you could tell that they were fresh from the garden.  Fresh salsas and salads, tomatoes with feta, chilled rice salad, corn ice cream, homemade pies baked during a pre-dinner demonstration…I love when my job requires me to eat!

Events like this remind me why I do what I do.  There is growing awareness of the importance of local food networks – especially in light of the huge egg recall.  Having fought for years to close the legislative loopholes that allow CAFOs to pollute our air and water and compromise our food’s safety, it is so refreshing to see more and more people voluntarily choose to invest in sustainable agriculture.

To everyone else who occasionally feels overwhelmed at times, or gets frustrated because change doesn’t come easily or quickly, don’t forget to look at the local picture sometimes.  That’s where you see the real changes happening.

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