A Taste of Plastic

A recent study found that people ingest as many as 11,000 plastic particles per year in their food, and that those who eat a lot of seafood may be consuming much more than that.
Orion Magazine writer Jourdan Imani Keith is a playwright, naturalist, educator, and storyteller whose work blends the textures of political, personal and natural landscapes to offer voices from the margins of American lives. In the latest issue of Orion Magazine she gives a personal view about ingesting particles of man-made items in seafood:

My tongue has not yet been able to discern cosmetics in my curried mussels or plastic pearls in my oysters, but in 2013 researchers in Belgium at Ghent University found that microplastics are present in food consumed by humans. The study showed that some Europeans eat as many as eleven thousand plastic particles per year. Coastal Salish tribes, Asians, and Asian Pacific Islanders in Washington State, and all who eat lots of fish and seafood, like I do, may also be consuming more microplastics than others. The potential risks for human health have not been studied. We don’t tend to think of plastics as part of our diet, but by the time they make it to our plates, it’s hard to say they haven’t become part of our food web.

A Taste of Plastic

Happy Birthday Wendell Berry

posted on Orion Magazine’s FB page:

Happy Birthday to our esteemed contributing editor Wendell Berry! Still truckin’ at age 80 and keeping his fans on their toes: the so-called father of sustainable agriculture (not his words) stopped by the Bay Area studios of KQED this week and called the word sustainability ‘useless,’ but then expanded a bit: ” So this issue of sustainability requires a lot of careful thought about ways of work and kinds of materials and it’s a conversation that we’ve just begun. The thing that we’re most needing to sustain is the health of the ecosphere, which is a big job. It then divides itself naturally into the need to sustain local ecosystems. The great fact of our time is that while our conversation about sustainability is trying to get started, we’re destroying the health of the local ecosystems.”

The Cooperative Economy | Orion Magazine

I’m returning to the idea of worker ownership and cooperatives on this blog again after reading the excellent interview in the most recent Orion Magazine shared with me by Stacy Miller, freelance researcher and project advisor at Farmers Market Coalition. I believe that the future of community food systems depends on us rescuing traditional work and community structures and creating some new ones too. We cannot expect the small businesses we work with to thrive when being asked to return to the industrial production or delivery systems of the mid 20th century that bankrupted them and helped to isolate all of us before.
Cleveland Ohio was my original home and so I follow the exciting news from there on issues like Evergreen Cooperatives, as well as the many, many other worker-owner hubs across the state (like Athens). I also appreciate that the author points out the battle for local ownership of energy grids in Colorado which has been happening in Ohio for decades, along with the expansion of aggregation for buyers to band together to purchase electricity at the community level. Those kinds of policies are allowing consumers more knowledge of real energy costs and to be actively engaged on issues of expanding renewables. All of these issues in the article show the need for citizen engagement to go beyond the voting booth and cooperatives of all kinds accelerate that action.
So as we discuss the needs for food work in our communities, let’s research and include ideas like cooperatives and worker-ownership right up front.

The Cooperative Economy | Orion Magazine.