November 8, 2022 is election day in the US.
Depending on where you live, you may have already received your ballot, as we in Vermont have. You may live in a place where exercising your right to vote is more challenging than it is here. If you do, regardless of your politics, I encourage you to contact your town officials—here, it would be the Town Clerk’s office— and to ask about voting times, procedures, absentee ballot availability and identification requirements.
Your vote is your voice! Every eligible voter in the US can raise their voice with their vote, and I hope you will too.
“How does this have anything to do with fermentation or Probiotics for the People?” you might ask. I’m so glad you did. Has anyone ever said to you that they have an idea or thought fermenting? You get what that means, right? A notion is rumbling around their consciousness, and they are trying to help it fully form.
That’s what we do in our crocks at the Fermentery. All. The. Time.
Think about it: we chop and shred a pile of ingredients, mix them by hand, adding salt and spices. Then we (literally) toss them into sturdy ceramic crocks and press or pound—depending on how fibrous they are— them in the container, hoping to unlock their delicious and preservative brine. We add a blanket of cabbage leaves to the top, a beautiful, custom made stainless steel plate, and a sterilized river rock, allowing the veg to stay submerged under its self-made airlock of brine while it ferments.
Then what happens?! The bacteria that is in the air, on our skin, and on the surface of the vegetables starts its life giving, preservative work. Those tiny, invisible, nobody knows them, one of a multitude organisms eat the carbohydrates in the mix and create lactic acid as one of their byproducts. And the whole mixture changes. It softens, the flavors mellow, the nutrition unlocks, and it becomes more resilient to temperature and time. It is transformed.
And if the tiny, invisible, nobody knows them, not a dime to their names bacteria decided not to play in the crock, or if only half or fewer of them got down to work, what would happen? Well. It might go okay for awhile. The ferment might look and taste similar to what we’ve known, especially to folks who are not paying close attention. But if fewer and fewer of those microbes showed up to help us in the Fermentery and in our crocks—if none of them jumped in the crock to do the heavy lifting of the fermentation—do you know what would happen? Those bright, beautiful, delicious vegetables and spices would rot. They would fester and putrefy instead of transforming into an amazing and healthful food.
Poison. Life ending. Soul sucking. Fear creating. Hate incubating. Poison.
When we vote, we are the microbes of democracy. We take our little selves and our little ballots and we say ‘yes’ to some people and ideas and ‘no’ to others. We add our values, opinions, preferences and wishes to the crock of democracy.
Then we wait as the ballots are counted and the elected officials installed. Next comes bills, arguments, policies, budgets, laws and a culture created through the power of our participation or absence of it.
Whoever you are, whatever you want for the future of this country and our democracy, please vote. Please encourage your friends and family to vote. It truly is your power and your voice in American politics. Your vote matters just as much in the upcoming state and national midterms as it does during a presidential or local election.
I have faith in you. I have faith in us to cultivate a just and powerful democracy. Thank you in advance for doing your part.