Starting Local (and then moving outward)

start local then growMasterDebator, the most sensible critic of my stand on Christmas, has once again spurred me to consider my worldview from a different angle. In a recent discussion he posed the following: what power do we have to really affect the suffering of people beyond our immediate family and community? One might even go further and say how can you really affect anything beyond yourself – and do we really even have control over that? I’ll answer that definitively – while we may not have ultimate control over even our own suffering, we do have control over our thoughts, actions, and emotions – that is unless we give that control over to someone or something else (government, money, etc.).

Before we think about impacting the world beyond us we must re-gain this self control. In retrospect, this is what my first year after finance was about. The process was painful, and at the time I felt the suffering was out of my control – but in reality I was putting myself through it so that I could become balanced, in order to eventually extend my influence beyond the self.

But you don’t go from changing yourself to changing the world in one step. MasterDebator is correct that the next step is working in the local community. Facebook shows us that it is possible, and even probable if the idea is universal enough, to extend beyond that, and eventually impact the entire world.

It is with this in mind that I have appointed myself ambassador for the Ginza Farmers Market. It is a local community in which I am actively involved, and which is spreading a positive message – of sustainable, organic, chemical-free farming. Food production is one of the critical areas of study, along with energy and a handful of related topics (sorry friends, finance is not one of them), that we must engage in to meet the challenges of the next years. By starting with this local community, perhaps I can springboard to other areas and eventually achieve the seemingly unattainable – reduced suffering on a worldwide scale.

Last week I started my ambassadorial work with an overview video of the market. This week I contributed my first recipe to promote the produce at the market. Check it here, in English and Japanese. If you are in Tokyo, hit up the market and give the recipe a shot with the original ingredients. If not, participate in spirit – support your own local market and whip up a batch of this hearty and economical soup at your leisure.

Now I’d love your feedback. Have I lost all credibility by comparing my support of the farmers market to Facebook? What is the best way to end world suffering? Care to submit your own favorite farmers recipe? Bring it on in the comments – peace!

And here’s a sneak look at the next recipe on the docket, Aki-san’s Butternut Squash Kare Udon, concocted from scratch last week, aint that pretty:

Ginza Farmers Butternut Squash Kare Udon