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Russell Libby: "Enough for everyone, always."

Russell Libby was mensch:

Under Libby's leadership, MOFGA [Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association] became the country's largest state-level organic association, with more than 6,500 members, 418 certified organic farms and processing operataions, and a 400-acre year-round education center. ...

Note that's first place in absolute terms, even though Maine is 41st in state populations. Those of us who have a vision of a sustainable future for the state of Maine -- come what may -- owe everything to Libby. Here is the editorial page of the Bamgor Daily News (!) summing up the lessons from Libby's life. Note #7:

1. Tell your story. Telling the story of the food you are eating or growing helps people remember and appreciate it. Libby enjoyed talking about the Black Oxford apples he grew at his home. The type of apple tree originated in Paris, Maine, around 1790 and is known for its ability to stay crisp through the winter months if stored properly. 2. Make a commitment. Consider spending just $10 per week on products from local farmers or craftsmen. Supporting your neighbors’ operations helps them employ workers and expand the local economy. 3. Take personal responsibility. Stop supporting practices you don’t believe in. If you don’t like the idea of farms raising chickens in cramped cages, don’t buy their eggs. 4. Care for the Earth. Even if you’re just growing a few vegetables in your backyard, you can limit fertilizers. You can reuse resources, such as by putting down compost. 5. Keep learning; keep an open mind. There are always opportunities to learn new practices or techniques, as is apparent with the annual courses offered by the Common Ground Education Center. Topics touch on energy efficiency, orchards, woodlots, greenhouses, blacksmithing. 6. Think big. “I’m really not interested in standing over here in the local and organic corner for the rest of my life and waving, ‘Hi, we’re having fun over here.’ I’m really interested in this kind of food being available to everybody under the basic principle: enough for everyone, always,” Libby said at the TedXDirigo talk. 7. Be kind. “That one tree might make / three thousand feet of boards / if our hearts could stand / the sound of its fall,” Libby wrote in his poem “Applied Geometry,” published by the Poetry Foundation.

We have an entire economy and a whole political class dedicated to creating scarcity and then charging rent for access to basic needs. Libby's perspective -- "enough for everyone, always" -- is quite different, and I believe it can be done. NOTE * And, to be fair, the rest of the hippies who found their way up here to the margins in the 1970s.

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