From pickets to paper

This is part of the Healthy Child Blog Carnival– an effort by Healthy Child Healthy World to help inspire a movement to protect children from harmful chemicals
When I was in college, I was bold.  I was nervy.  And I carried the banner for every unheard voice I could find.  I stood around with my picket signs and I had “Students for a Free Tibet” on every water bottle, notebook and available surface.  I waded around in creek beds picking up trash and litter.  I passed out information and wanted to talk to those people who could make a change.  Upon graduation, I suddenly found that my time was now spent working, commuting and being with my family.  I no longer had whole weekends to advocate for the animal shelter.  I also found that in my community at that time, there were few opportunities to participate.
A few years ago, I wrote letters to each of the 14 nearby school districts to ask them to revaluate their food choices.  Only one school responded and the letter was rather nasty to tell the truth.  10 years ago, this might not have bothered me, but this time it did.  So I changed my approach and started writing to senators, representatives, heads of school boards, newspaper editors, and the mayor of our town.  

To date, the only real success I have seen was an article in our local paper about a year after my letters began inundating the local offices.  The director mentioned in the article received a phone call from me to follow up with my letter.  I didn’t get to speak with him, but the person who I did talk to was receptive and kind.  I can’t say it was my phone call that made the difference, but it was nice to see someone took all those letters that I’m certain other people submitted and made a choice.

Regardless of whether or not my voice is the one that gets listened to, I will advocate the use of healthy products and local food choices through my own lifestyle.  The best way to do this is to actually feed people a meal and wait for them to love it.  Inevitably, they ask about your ingredients and preparations and you then have an open door to talk about what’s important to you.  Above all else, remember: You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.  A pound cake made of all local ingredients goes a long way when you are trying to convince someone that a 100-mile diet is do-able!

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