We went to the Frances Moore Lappe lecture at OSU last evening. Came home and got out our copy of Diet for a Small Planet. Yikes! Inscribed on the inside of the cover is 'January 10, 1973. For Kirk and Susan. Frankie Lappe'. We think sister Leslie must have gotten the book for us when she and husband Val hosted Ms. Lappe at Colorado College. Anyway, the book is fascinating... reading it post-lecture (and hungry) brought back all those delicious hippie-standard casseroles... all the brown rice and fresh veggies and cheeses, baked for half an hour, making the house smell delicious every time. I won't forget those feasts, those Lappe-inspired treats baked in the woodstove oven (remember that Star Bride?), with a group of friends/kids on cold winter nights, the fireplace blazing? Good times. And good food. The Lappe book, combined with some of the stuff from Moosewood, inspired most of our diet in those days. And the act of getting the food... collecting and aging the manure, feeding the Earth, planting and harvesting and preserving... those were acts of love that so few can experience these days. And much more too... getting the food for the chickens so we could have those wonderful big brown eggs, hauling the truckloads of leaves from suburban yards in November (always a race to beat the trash trucks which seemed determined to put every leaf in the landfill)... the whole complex system fed us and nurtured us. Good times.
We were happy to see that many in the audience arrived by bike. Lots and lots of bikes. And, of course, too many cars. We managed to use the bus, combined with a nice walk across a beautiful campus both coming and going. Caught the last bus home... happy to see 24 other passengers who joined us for the journey in the dark.
Back to Ms. Lappe. She wasn't nearly the professional we expected. Seemed a bit nervous, more than a bit scattered (mixing up her notes, skipping slides), always on the move on stage. Her message has evolved from the Food Issues to a less-focused forum based on personal empowerment: You have the resources to solve these problems... all you have to do is find the correct course of action. It's actually a very Buddhist approach to the situation. She claims responsibility for all the problems, and claims she can muster the power to solve them. All she needs is for us to acknowlege our own responsibility, and for us to take charge of finding the solutions. It's 'Be the change you want to see in the world' (Ghandhi) writ large. She has a new book coming out in September (her 18th): EcoMind: Seven Thought-Leaps for the Planet. She touched, tho didn't dwell, on Climate Chaos (her take on Climate Change, and fed recently by the severe weather that includes droughts, floods and tornadoes) and on Living Democracy (as vs. Normal Democracy, where one goes to vote every four years and that is it). Her 'Living Democracy' is my thing too... stay informed and perform a political act every day. Write a letter, call a politician, go to City Hall for answers, question Authority every day... be a pain in the ass. She didn't hint as to the Seven Thought-Leaps, but I'll bet they'll be fun to read.
Her first action on stage was to ask her audience (a full house, mostly grey-haired, a few students): Are you scared? Virtually everyone said yes. Are you scared? I am.