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Drop in the Bucket

Posted by Admin FatStoneFarm on
making maple syrup

It seems there are two, contradictory perhaps, popular sentiments swirling around post November 2016: ONE: do small things to make great changes; TWO: get angry and make a big splash.

The Queen of England's annual Christmas address, for example, was about praising ordinary people doing "extraordinary" work every day. Charity work and Olympic medal winning. This seems good enough. We need these constant, good workers to keep weaving the human, compassionate thread throughout our world.

On the other hand, the human, compassionate overlay lulls us into complacency with the idea that "it will all work out", just keep focused on the small things. Leave the "big" things to others. Did backlash to this idea lead Penzey's Spices owner Bill Penzey to take sides in a big way and solidify his spice company as a political voice with only one acceptable point of view? Fascinating how a food company (albeit a spices, which have a long history of colonialism and suppression) gets political.

The maple syrup industry, with a North American history dating to 1541, was political, too. I picked up David K. Leff's Maple Sugaring book last year and learned that maple sugar was promoted by the colonists, and then the abolitionists, as a morally superior alternative to white sugar. White sugar was produced in the West Indies by slaves, after all. Maple sugar was produced at home, tariff-free, and purchase of it supported the local economy.

A drop in the bucket? Or a larger, moral stance?


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