Growing up in the ‘60s and ‘70s on burgeoning Long Island, I longed for natural and human elements. So much was being paved over with concrete and steel; so many items were being newly made with plastic and metal. I felt starved for the subtleties and vibrancy of nature.
I remember searching for tidbits of the homemade and handmade, containing the touch of another human being. My insides wrenched as family and local businesses were being squeezed out by chain stores, bringing machine-made uniformity.
Thanks to the new Cottage Industry Law, my boyfriend and I have started selling our homemade pesto. As I cut apart the labels, punch holes in them and lace hemp string through to tie them onto jars, I realize how rare an act this has become.
A generation or more of us have been raised on the standardized and mass-produced. Few feel we have the time or skills to make what we need. This domestic out-sourcing is a type of tyranny and dependence that undermines the value of our own hands, hearts and minds.
To Gandhi, the spinning wheel was the symbol of independence. I wonder what ours will be.