The Cornerstones (that Build Healthy Food Systems) are Hard to See
Thank you for tuning in to episode one, where I’m going to explain why gaining access to safe. healthy food is really a simple process, 0nce you focus on setting the cornerstones in place. The problem keeping so many of us from building sustainable food systems lies in our inability to clearly understand what the cornerstones are that hold the food system in place, and how these cornerstones function. As I thought about this, I began to think about the Magic Eye images that were so popular in the 1990s.
But those of you that aren’t familiar with these magic eyes, or maybe you’re familiar with them, but you didn’t know what the images were called…I want to take you back to 1991, when a manager of a big tech company called Pentica was looking for a way to advertise their services, and he had an idea. Why not embed an image of their tech products within an autostereogram?
An austereogram is actually a kind of two dimensional optical illusion that looks like a 3d image.
And so this manager began playing with autostereograms and developed an image, the outcome of which achieved much more than generating sales of a few tech products. You see Tom Baccei’s images, series of repeating geometric patterns that created an illusion of three dimensions, could be superimposed on any image.
On first glance, the viewer saw repeating geometric patterns, fractals, if you will. But viewed from a different focal point, a different perspective, the hidden image behind the fractals appeared. Baccei’s Magic Eye’s, as the drawings came to be known, became a pop culture fad that could be found in nearly every household. Like Beanie Babies, Magic Eye images were a sign that you were among the in-crowd of the 1990s.
The most amazing, or perhaps the most frustrating feature of the Magic Eye was that if you did not stand in just the right place, hold your eyes on just the right focal point or even have the right kind of vision, you could stare at the image indefinitely, wondering why everyone else in your household was talking about the deer behind the image, when all you could see was a colorful geometric pattern.
Learn Where to Look, and Healthy Food Systems Become Accessible.
Now I’m not Tom Baccei, and I don’t have his flair for marketing, but I did think about his Magic Eye as I was planning this podcast episode, because I believe that the path to food security is a little bit like the deer behind the magic eye. It’s simple and accessible for most of us, but only if you know exactly how to look at it.
I saw the image myself for the first time, several years ago. At the time I was conducting research in a government laboratory. And as I looked at my data, which dealt with plants and microbes in arid ecosystems, I had an idea that hit me as solidly as Newton’s apple. An idea I thought was so profound, it could solve many of the biggest problems in the world-hunger, disparity, environmental decline-simply, painlessly and equitably.
My idea was that by restoring biodiversity, specifically microbial biodiversity in our soils, our food, and our ecosystems, we could eliminate pollution, sequester the excess atmospheric carbon that is contributing to global change, increase food production and the nutritional quality of the food produced, reduce the incidence of chronic and infectious disease, and transform our economy for the better.
After all, the simple reality is that the best microbes for restoring any ecosystem are going to vary from the microbes best for restoring the next ecosystem. And that means that the best microbiological resources for solving food security and health problems in any environment are likely to be local.
They (microbes) are natural resources that cannot be patented, mass-marketed, and monopolized, because they simply don’t work in other ecosystems. Oh sure, some companies will try. And some will have products that do benefit people over a large sector, but the successes of these producers will never be as unilateral as the successes achieved by our biggest corporations. Microbial technologies will defy monopolization in ways that quietly and peacefully restore equity by developing local economies.
All that is necessary to make this thing happen is a different way of looking at the world. A different mindset. A different perspective, looking through the Magic Eye. You see, the resources and the infrastructure we need are all there. We just need to use them in a different way.
Lack of Freedom Blinds us to the Path (to Healthy Food Systems).
And so, as a result of this great idea, I began to look closely at what is driving our current behavior? What causes a significant majority of the 7 billion people on the planet to act in ways that damage our environment and reduce our health so completely, that healthcare costs, climate-related disasters, and disparity between the haves and have-nots are leading us towards ecological and economic collapse?
I believe the answer to this question centers around our state of freedom. I believe that lack of freedom in our educational institutions drives mindless consumerism by fostering dependence on institutions, in place of dependence on people and our environment.
Now the average person on the street in many communities objects to the current balance of power held by large corporations. But at the same time they object, they also support these corporations with every purchase they make. They work for these corporations, they depend on the services and the jobs, that these corporations provide.
And while a portion of this dependence amounts to a good fair trade, too much dependence becomes toxic. It acts on society like an environmental poison, whose effects transcend generations.
Dependence on Government Concentrates Wealth Among a Few.
Lack of freedom within our government drives this dependence by supporting the corporations, the lobbies and the special interests at the expense of individual citizens. This has the effect of concentrating wealth, resources and power among a few.
As governments, expand, society starts seeking solutions from government, instead of finding solutions within ourselves. This dependence on government to fix problems that could be fixed by free enterprise is the fuel that feeds the fire.
Disparity Can’t be Fixed by Government
But I don’t believe we can solve these problems by focusing on politics or attacking big corporations. Instead, I believe that if we can change our mindsets and learn to see the image of a healthy food system hiding behind that Magic Eye, we will take the steps necessary to claim our freedom and restore our planet in the process.
We can restore biodiversity that supports a clean environment, regenerates local farms and businesses, and put better food on our tables, so that we can pay less money to fewer doctors. I’m not knocking doctors. I’d just rather not need them so often.
This vision of restoring food systems by adding diversity to our living world, our environment, our agriculture, and our diets, while empowering free society through better education and more local free enterprise, is like the image hiding behind Baccei’s Magic Eye.
I see it clearly. I know how to look at it and where to stand. I’ve taught it in live workshops and online courses. And I know many who see it as well. But it’s a vision that fades quickly when your focus shifts to the daily noise around us.
My hope for this podcast is to continue sharing insights. My own, and insights from others, that will help you see past this daily noise and understand the simplicity with which the problems that face so many of us can be solved.
In our next episode, we’re going to define the four cornerstones that build the foundations of a healthy food system, and we’re going to talk about how this foundation supports economies, governments, and all of society.
In the meantime, if I’ve made you curious or nostalgic about Magic Eye drawings, look in the description below this podcast to find a link to books written by Tom Baccei, that include Magic Eye illustrations.
That is all for today’s episdode. Please tune in next time.
Note: The link below will take you to the Magic Eye website. We have no affiliation to magiceye.com, nor will we earn any commission if you make purchases there. We have only included the link for your enjoyment, and to better illustrate the concept presented above.