My children and I attended the Wayne County Heritage Festival this weekend. It was held at the Brown-Lanier House in Monticello, which is part of the Mill Springs Battlefield from the Civil War era. Lots of interesting history, and we got to see the mill in action grinding corn. (They grind corn Memorial Day-Labor Day on the weekends, so be sure to check it out next year!)
It was a good day with some fun new friends, but I still felt an enormous sense of loss due to the centralization of our food system. It wasn’t that long ago that many communities would have had their own fully-operational mill to support the needs of their local food production. (The area was first home to a mill in 1817—not even 200 years ago!)
It’s sickening to think of all that’s been lost in just a few short years:
- the ability for farms to have their grains processed locally.
- the food security factor of each community being able to support its own agriculture needs.
- the community interaction centralized around the production and processing of local food.
- the improved flavor and nutrition of recently-processed whole grains vs. grains stripped, processed, shipped, and stored for months before they end up in your kitchen.
- the job opportunities created by producing and processing food in your own community.
- the reduced environmental pollution that is a result of eating food locally instead of transporting it cross-country as the standard course of action.
- the reduced environmental impact of working with nature (using water to create power) instead of against it.