It's been nearly three years since I produced issue 1 of consume®, an examination of, and rant against, the marketing and business practices of corporate retail behemoths and our readiness to buy into whatever is served up. I pushed for deliberate, personal, buying habits. Now, on the event of my 30th birthday, I've launched into an experiment devised to put my money where my mouth is: become aware of my own dependence on blind consumption, and gain an understanding of the people and processes involved in making commodities available to me.
I certainly have been inspired by others who have committed themselves to buying only locally and organically produced products. However, my intention is not neccessarily to change what I purchase, but to change my level of awareness and participation in the acts. I'm as interested in knowing where a large, mass-produced object comes from as I am in meeting local entrepreneurs and artists. It's about understanding the labor and encountering the people that make my life, my consumer life anyway, possible.
These connections will be more difficult to make in some situations than others, as I learn about the obstacles placed between manufacturer and consumer, and make efforts to overcome them.