I’d like to say I’m an all-natural, one-hundred percent organic, fairly traded, shade-grown and completely recyclable human being – but I’m not. With the amount of industrial residue surely circulating in my system I’m notch above a cyborg. And since I’ve turned the executive functions of my life over to the handheld device that lives in my coat pocket, the transformation continues. I’m frightened only when I look in the mirror and tiny ones and zeroes rain before my eyes.
I expected that by the beginning of this millennium I’d have a bionic brain fueled by psycho-pharmaceuticals and a shiny new liver freshly transplanted from the bio-farm. Though these notions have gone the way of the jetpack, robot sidekick and digital dodo, I’m satisfied that the future is so bright I have to wear ultraviolet ray-repelling fashion goggles (and not just because the ozone layer and the icebergs are on a fast pass to the Grey Havens). I’ve convinced myself that I can stay human and not entirely (d)evolve into a mandroid by ingesting only the finest organic, non-GMO foodstuffs available within a 100-mile radius. I am now forbidden to treat hangovers with fast-food French fries.
Actually, all of this wasn’t my idea. I’m neither farsighted nor vigilant enough to fully appreciate how my diet affects both me and we, but my wife, the Contessa, has made the natural foods game her trade and the domestic blowback means I’m eating more green in every sense of the word.
When I started dating the Contessa, I was mystified by the assorted organica that dotted her apartment, which I rather naively took to be the trappings of some kind of benevolent witchcraft (you know, like Glynda, if her Burning Man costume is any indication). Slowly and surely I succumbed to her magic, which is why I found myself knee-deep in compost the other day, sifting for the “black gold” at the bottom of the pile. This, I’ve been instructed, is to be sprinkled on the organic herb garden that is replacing my front lawn, the seeds for which arrived in biodegradable and compostable packaging via an Internet-based seed bank that not only off-set the carbon emissions from its shipping but also off-set my retirement for a few more years.
When one begins growing organisms in one’s front lawn, suddenly notions of purity and goodness come to the fore and “better living through chemistry” sounds like the whiplash inducing spin that it is. Hence, my garden is a GMO-free zone devoid of pesticides, herbicides and bad vibes. Frankly, it’s not ingesting the genetically-modified organisms that distresses me, it’s the genetically-modified waste product that get flushed into the sewage system. That’s when the ‘50s sci-fi film begins – and you thought “The Blob” was scary.
At the behest of pal Julien Gervreau, I recently made my way to the Sundance Cinemas in San Francisco to watch the unveiling of the “food” episode of “Big Ideas for a Small Planet,” a green-themed Sundance Channel series, which pours out so much love for Mother Earth, one could say she was the ultimate MILF.
Awaiting me on my seat was a gift bag manufactured from no fewer than five recycled plastic water bottles (this factoid was emblazoned on the bag itself in bold letters), a pair of cardboard computer speakers of dubious utility and various printed matter that I believe was edible. The draw for us local types, however, was the chance to cheer on Chris Benziger of Glen Ellen-based Benziger Family Winery, who joined his brother Mike in a segment about bio-dynamic farming.
I was reminded of a time Chris gave me a tour of the eco-wonderland of their vineyard as a bio-diesel-powered truck chugged by. The smell of the exhaust was distinct.
“French fries,” Chris nodded. And the planet seemed less hung-over.