Our business name came about whilst I was chatting to Dan one evening. I’m fairly sure it was last year, post-Brexit, post- general election. It’s fair to say I was feeling pretty shit.
I’ve spent the last couple of years reading more and more about climate change, problems with the food system and issues of consuming infinite amounts of things on a planet of finite resources. I can generally be found frozen in supermarket aisles, twitching in one eye as I tried to figure out the best way of avoiding obscene amounts of plastic and waste ending up in my bins. It should not be this hard to make good choices, it just shouldn’t.
After one particular evening of listening to my rants, Dan told me about a short story called “A Small Good Thing” by Raymond Carver. To cut a short story short, it’s about a couple who lose their son before his birthday in a car accident. Something so horrendously awful, that it doesn’t bear thinking about. The baker in charge of the boys’ birthday cake leaves irate messages for the parents, not realising what has happened. The parents go to confront him and they all end up talking until the small hours of the morning, eating cinnamon buns made by the baker. Eating is a “small good thing in times like these” he says. He can’t undo the horrible thing, but he can do something very small to help.
Although not a story directly related with the selling of fruit and veg, it really struck a chord with me. I had just finished reading an article about T.S. Eliot, who wrote, just after the end of WWII; “we must locate our hope in small and humble beginnings” rather than “trying to change the whole world at once”.
All around, we can see small groups of people coming together, doing small things to enforce positive change. There are murmurings, and they are getting louder. Whether that be a badger-watch society, men in sheds group, bird-watchers, incredible edible group, anti-fracking group, the zero-waste movement; all are involved in the housekeeping of our planet and all these things add up.
There’s a great article by George Monbiot, who says it much better than I can:
In it, he says
Turning such initiatives into a wider social revival means creating what practitioners call “thick networks”: projects that proliferate, spawning further ventures and ideas that weren’t envisaged when they started. They then begin to develop a dense, participatory culture that becomes attractive and relevant to everyone rather than mostly to socially active people with time on their hands.
Look at the incredible vastness of America. Any sort of homogenized movement seems impossible on such a large land mass. But all over the country, small indigenous groups are saying the same things and protecting their sacred lands. Look at Standing Rock. Look at Keystone XL. Disparate groups coming together to effect large scale change. (If you want to delve further into this topic, I can highly recommend Naomi Klein’s book “This Changes Everything”.)
Unfortunately, we are long past the point where climate change is up for debate. The problems our generation faces can seem insurmountable and overwhelming. We turn away because it’s too much to see all at once.
So do something small instead. Engage, read, engage a bit more and start small. For me, that’s how this new venture was born. I’m very aware that this is an atom of a drop in an ocean, but food, zero-waste and cutting over-consumption of “things” are my area of interest. Find something that interests you, and get involved. Start composting, go on a community litter pick, take your nan out for some chips, whatever, just connect with someone or something. Think global, act local.
Small Good Things lead to Big Good Change.