Let’s put aside for moment the usual goals and benefits in the movements for localization and sustainability. Freeing ourselves from dependency on external food supplies and other commodities is, often times, enough motivation to get involved; however, there is something else that is vital, and that is also being threatened by globalization and by our typical urban landscapes. Now, I’ve been an urban dweller my entire life but I have never gotten accustomed to the emptiness that often drains the relationships and experiences in my day to day urban races. A million people coming together in a small space should swell human interaction within our communities, but instead heads and eyes are kept down, and we rarely open ourselves to the strangers around us. It may seem like fear at first, but fear is only filling the hole that is left when there is not enough passion in our day to day lives. We need to directly depend on those within our community more in order to build stronger connections with others.
I recently decided to volunteer for ABC Bees to pursue my interest in localization with the aim for sustainability. My first task was to accompany Eliese in checking out a potential spot for hosting an event. This would consist of a 6 hour road trip to eco-village near Edmonton. Now spending a sunny Saturday afternoon in a car didn’t seem appealing at first, but I quickly realized, like many other urban dwellers, I probably would have wasted my time sitting in front of a screen anyway. To make a long story short, the excursion out of the city turned out to be an oasis in a desert of mindless urban-working days. Now it might be because I’ve never visited a petting zoo before, but meeting a house pig and hanging out with some horses and a herd of lamas was pretty exciting. Beyond the experience of visiting the eco-village, the interactions I had on this trip made me realize that there was another amazing benefit to localization. Community building becomes much more seamless when we insist on working and trading for our food with those within our community, instead of mindlessly opening our hands and pockets to careless corporations. Small towns and farm communities are strengthened through localization, so why shouldn’t invite this same benefit into our urban environments? The issue is, at some point, we wrongly deemed our struggle for food as a pointless waste of time, but in the same stroke we’ve tainted our social interactions in the same way. So if you’re looking for another reason to get involved in supporting localization and sustainability, remember: a friend in need is, truly, a friend indeed, and a friend who will help you weed – is even better.