Author: Alice Cunningham
In America’s early days, the nation’s founders required a potent symbol to communicate the concept of freedom. In colonial Boston, the symbol that became synonymous with freedom was an elm tree.
The Liberty Tree, as it came to be known, was a gathering place for advocates for freedom. Though eventually cut down by opponents, its symbolic resonance only grew, gracing flags and pins, with elms being planted throughout the new nation.
This week following Independence Day, and throughout this summer, I hope that we can all remember the Liberty Tree and why it was such a powerful symbol. And, why the growth that it promises may continue to resonate as we undertake a new struggle for freedom.
The struggle we now face is no less a campaign for self-determination than the American Revolution. Much like the Revolution, what is at stake is personal freedom and the ability to choose your own destiny.
It is a struggle over the freedom to choose what you can grow and eat; each of us is involved, whether we know it or not. The right to choose seems basic. Indeed, you may assume that farmers have the ability to save and exchange seed that they are growing our food with, but you would be wrong.
Seeds are a gift of nature, the result of centuries of labor by farmers worldwide who have conserved heirloom seeds and thousands of natural varieties. But over the past few decades, legislation restricting access to seeds helped diminish small farmers’ holdings and have established industrial agriculture as globally dominant.