After visiting Eco-Friendly Foods and speaking at length with Bev Eggleston, we began to talk about what exactly a food movement means. When pressed on the question of whether corporations could reproduce what he is doing and thereby co-opt certain practices, similar to the way ‘Organic’ has been rendered a useless tag; Bev makes it very clear that his practice is so singular, so particular to the area, time, animal, and farms serviced (even the weather of a particular day), that it would be impossible for corporations to co-opt. Even if ‘Acme Meat Processing’ were to try to emulate Bev, they would immediately find it cost prohibitive. The reason why is: Eco-Friendly Foods is a hands on approach, malleable in its ability to adapt to the instantaneous swerves that are inherent in running small organizations. Eco-Friendly Foods is a Living self-organizing organism, and we mean literally Living. The value of Living that Bev, and others like him, put on their practice, their entire eco-system for that matter, is what puts these practices at odds with big business. The Living of food and the Living of the eater do not need to succumb to the collateral damage of bottom lines.
What is at stake are ‘practices’ and to allow these practices to exist for reasons other than, but not in opposition to money. Bev, or any other Artist concerned with the practice of Living organisms, are not interested in bending concerning factors to their will but act in concert with the understanding that every organism has a self-organizing tendency. Bev’s job is to bring about the best possible outcomes while trying to stay in business. To privilege vivacity should not oppose a practice of supplying food. Life is the open and unexpected demands and desires of organisms not straddled or bent to rigid concepts transcending from higher forces.
Living practices may be opposed to setting hard and fast goals that refuse singular practices. For example when asked if all the farms that Bev services are permaculture, Bev says, “I have old timers who have no idea what that means. But we KNOW these animals we pick up are as healthy and far better than most out there.” In other words small farmers who have passed along practices for generations are acting in a symbiotic relationship with their micro eco systems and to demand they practice a form of permaculture would be ridiculous. To send down regulated guidelines may leave behind practices that have helped us think action up to this point. Standardization would be counter effective within the growth of a food movement.
What we can learn from Bev, is a diagnostic approach that deals in differentials, analysis and sense particular in an operation. To copy his operation would be to lose the very concept on which this immanent, grassroots organization sprung. That is to say, to take the practices and impose them elsewhere would be quixotic. However this is not to say that Bev’s perspective, his overarching philosophy of particular singularities leading us, should not be explored and developed everywhere there are discussions of food practices. What is at stake is that the perspective of evolution allows room for growth, adaptation and to impose a revolution is a violent action that inherently leads to the question of: what next?
This evolution needs to take place in the financial markets first. Michael Pollan encourages us to vote with our forks. But as we have seen with the botched economy and stimulus this may not be enough. What is needed is investment in singular practices not in opposition to technology (for Bev’s plant is technologically advanced), but in concert with best practices. Eco-Friendly Foods has everything in place except the infrastructure and the human power to expand to where they need to be. Bev has established a market for what he does, he needs investors. Investors that privilege the pioneer aspects of what Bev has established.
Living is a process of the now, acknowledging a past that can never be present and speculating a future that will never exist. Living helps us think necessity, how to avoid avarice and the ability to handle the turbulence that make up a Life. Financial markets are controlled; corporations are mandated to follow bottom lines. Freeing Financial Markets may be our most important challenge within a so-called food movement. In the meantime Bev will be at the Dupont Farmers Market this Sunday.