What Can I Say.
The only thing I can really tell you about today is that I needed 18 carbon copies of myself to do all the things on my list. Perhaps then, as a team of 19, I could have made some forward progress. And look, this is totally lame but I came home late this afternoon and vacuumed my entire house and organized our pantry just so I could feel like I had some control over something. And that is pretty rock bottom when you need to get yourself back together so you vacuum and group your canned goods by vegetable type, right?
Over the weekend, Jason and I binge watched Rotten on Netflix. It is a seven part docu-series that examines the food supply chain in America and the forces behind it that influence how we eat. And all that said, this time last week I would have bet you money that being a honey producer in America had to be pretty straight forward and profitable. Turns out, the honey industry is overwrought with fraud from competitive foreign sources. We also learned that farmers in America can’t compete with China when selling garlic because production prices are exceptionally cheaper in China, as prisoners are often forced to peel the garlic for the producers prior to import into America. And I can’t even discuss the inequities to chicken farmers under pressure to grow chubby birds at a low cost to big company processing plants. Please cue the righteous indignation immediately.
And of course a central theme in all the episodes of this particular series is the sort of idealized American small farm business that is able to exist less and less because of the way our world demands consumable products cheaper and faster than in any point in our history. I didn’t even know that using fillers of rice syrup in honey to lower costs was A Thing, but I can’t help but feel a kinship toward the farmer who started a petition for the federal government to investigate the practice, thus protecting his own market price for what was actually real, non-diluted honey. That’s my sort of entrepreneur. (And one American garlic farmer goes to China with an undercover camera and actually goes in a prison to record the exploitation of labor. He’s basically my hero because his commitment to protecting his product was just so extra.)
Today I thought about a few of those people I watched in that series…the ones that just get up each day and feed the chickens, the ones that collect the honey, the ones that walk down long rows in big fields and pull garlic bulbs. I don’t know any of them, obviously, but it reminded me that whatever your small business, it all has its own challenges. That I felt overwhelmed enough to need to clean my pantry at home is probably pretty normal, looking at the big picture. It feels a little lonely whilst in it, but only because I forget that others are working just as hard (or actually, much harder) and are undoubtedly having days where feeling overwhelmed is the very least of it. Perspective is always a super good thing.
As is alphabetically arranged cans of vegetables. What can I say?