Thursday, February 16, 2012

Holey Darned Socks, Batman!

Yesterday, I darned my first sock.

I know what you're thinking... isn't this blog about farming and agriculture? Indeed it is. So why am I telling you about my socks, which are clearly in need of replacement?

The lure of self sufficiency is a very strong motivation for me. I normally think of this in terms of growing my own food, and being self sufficient from that perspective. But, while I am no seamstress, I regularly repair rips in my shirts and jeans, sew buttons, stitch hems, put in darts, and do other handy little sewing projects that extend the life of my clothing as much as possible.

One of the problems I see with our conventional food system is how wasteful it is. Alternative food systems such as organic and biodynamic agriculture seek to minimize that waste. The ideal farm is a closed system. For example, vegetable waste and manure become compost, which nourishes future growth. But why seek to minimize waste in your food system if you aren't going to do the same elsewhere?

I've ranted discussed previously the issue of the "hidden costs" of conventional agriculture. The same is true for any purchase one makes. When you purchase a cotton T-shirt, as Annie Leonard (of The Story of Stuff Project) explains, you are also buying into a system that uses toxic pesticides and chemicals to grow, bleach, and dye your shirt; uses fossil-fuel driven machines to card, sort, and weave your shirt; and exploits workers in foreign countries who don't make a living wage to sew your shirt.

So if extending the life of one measly little sock by darning it helps me feel like I'm making a difference, however miniscule, then I'll do it. Gosh darn it.

I'll close with a pertinent quote from Annie Leonard's book The Story of Stuff. (Emphasis mine.)
Cherish the T-shirt you have. Wear it and care for it with the same persevering love you have for an heirloom piece of jewelry. Resist the urge to replace it with the newest color or neckline. I keep my T-shirts until they're too worn to wear even to the gym, and then I turn them into rags... Because even though the price tag said $4.99... that doesn't come close to reflecting all the hidden costs or true value of one plain white cotton T-shirt.

No comments:

Post a Comment