I recently ran into some photos of a pumpkin festival which left me feeling literally sick to my stomach.
They happened to be photos of a festival in Dallas but it could have been a display of pumpkins from any place in the United States that does this kind of thing.
An image popped into my mind of someone not saying, “Let them eat cake,” exactly but something possibly worse … more like … “Let them look at pumpkins.”
A perfect example of Spectacle Society.
Pumpkin festivals started out as fun events. But is there a place for them today? Where we are losing topsoil faster than we can make it? Where our state uses irrigation to mitigate a drought? Where the vast majority of our children receive free and cost reduced lunches at school because their parents can’t earn enough money to even supply their families with food?
I can’t imagine a more tone deaf activity. And of all the fruits it had to be pumpkins: heavy, heavy feeders needing a lot of space and water to grow. A crop that makes such poor animal feed that even pigs will turn their snouts up and away. Most of these pumpkins will just rot into compost in the best scenarios … or be thrown into landfills in the worst.
Maybe we ought to re-think the idea that it is somehow cute or even acceptable to use land, water, fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, human labour and fossil fuels to create a spectacular but temporary display. 65 000 pumpkins for just one city’s display. How many pumpkins are grown and wasted across the country?
Here’s a challenge to the organizers and admirers of these things: I dare you to use your creativity to create something truly beautiful instead of a colossal pile of waste.
I think Robert Jensen is correct. “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” (Jeremiah 8:20.) Unless we start caring and unless we stop biggering there can be no hope for this planet.