By Adrienne Markworth

When I taught high school Ethics, one of the main concepts that wove through the year was the idea of interdependence. As I read the SF Chronicle this morning—they had a large feature on the rising costs of food—I was struck by how many other issues were tied into this topic.

Some negatives: concerns about climate change and dependence on foreign oil have led to large subsidies for farmers producing corn for ethanol, which has resulted in higher commodities prices. Higher food costs restrict schools from providing healthy choices and adequate portions for their students, which makes paying attention and learning more difficult.

Some positives: growth in farmer’s markets, “victory” and community gardens, and other grass-roots attempts to mitigate the rising food costs. Many of these efforts move people away from highly processed and packaged foods and towards sustainably grown produce. Much has been written on the amount of petroleum required to move food around the world (often needlessly)—so these movements are definitely a step in the right direction.

I try and maintain a glass-half-full attitude, and although there is plenty of evidence that things may get more difficult before they get easier, I am heartened by the idea that the best solutions involve individual choices that have immediately tangible results. In these times, everyone can make a difference.