As I quickly approach my 48th birthday, one label that I intensely dislike is that of a ‘consumer’. Just about every news story refers to people as consumers, which on reflection, is quite apt in the consumer culture that we are currently burdened with. I must admit that back before 2006, I was indeed a consumer with emphasis on consume!
That label may be fitting for some and my behaviours in the past, however, as I was pottering around the garden over the weekend, I thought to myself, that I have transformed from consumer to producer/consumer with emphasis on producer!
As I was walking around, I looked and thought about the things that I produce. I produce food for my family from my fruit trees and vegetable garden from water that I have harvested. I produce electricity from the Sun with both my grid-tied and stand-alone solar PV system. I produce hot-water from the Sun. I produce cheese from milk, bread from flour, eggs from kitchen scraps, and jam from fruit. I produce beer from malt, hops and yeast. I produce soap from vegetable oils. I produce fertile soil from garden waste, and worm castings from coffee grounds.
But most of all, I believe that I produce joy. Joy from living a simple and sustainable lifestyle for me, my family, and increasingly, my community. It feels great to be a producer as opposed to a consumer. I still consume, but when I do it is a basic grade of products from which I can produce something better and more sophisticated. Being a producer means that I have learnt skills and wisdom that I would have otherwise ignored and left forgotten to generations long gone. To be a producer is to reclaim these lost skills and to pass them on to our offspring and friends or anyone who wants to learn.
So my question to you all is, what do you produce, fellow producers? How do you feel when you produce vs when you consume?