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Doing Nothing is Not Doing Nothing

Doing nothing couldn’t be farther from the truth. If you are “doing nothing”, that means you are doing something but just consider it not as valuable as doing something. For sure, even when you think you are doing nothing, your mind and body are still doing something. And we can all be thankful for that! If it was up to us to remember to breathe or have our heart beat or make another 225 billion cells every day, there would be a whole lot less of us just doing nothing. (Wink)

I spend a lot of time volunteering in the Salmon/Farm and Food (In)Security arenas. I use the term arena, because a lot of this work is like an arena of old. The decisions that have been and are being made have long term impacts. “Doing Nothing” in these two arenas is still doing something. It is still a choice being made and the outcomes of those choices will have impacts on our environments—the places we play or grow our food or where the wild critters live. Or, if we continue to hand out food freely or choose to subsidize food or decide to implement a “work for food” model, all those choices will have impacts too.

Here is a prime example. The steel workers (150,000) of PA and OH are really excited that President Trump is slapping tariffs on steel and aluminum. The soybean farmers (300,000) are not excited because China might slap tariffs on their products. In this case doing nothing would continue to benefit the soybean farmers and farmers in general, but still depress our steel industry. Choices do have impacts. Ironically, if soybeans have a tariff slapped on them, those farmers will have to sell the food to more Americans. Food prices will then drop (ouch/YAY), but your car prices will go up (as if they could charge anymore for a car)!

Nothing happens in a vacuum and change is hard. Just because a policy is not changed doesn’t mean that everything is better. We are just deciding to do nothing different and choosing to get the same results. That might be fine, but that is not doing nothing.

There are lots of broken systems in America today. They were implemented to solve a need and that need was solved, but at the same time we also created a whole industry around serving that need. It became an entitlement with elected officials, government employees, lawyers, doctors, community activists, universities and private businesses all lining up to keep meeting that need. Pick the need: agricultural subsidies, welfare payments, disability, education subsidies, defense contracts, clean air and water, etc. As one legislator shared with me, “Every program has a constituent.” I would add that every time we support/create a new government program, we also create the opportunity for that program to live on and on and on.

Unfortunately, there is 17 trillion dollars of debt in America demanding that changes happen. I want to be out in front of those changes and be working on local solutions to national problems that exist locally here, and I am investing my time to do so. Because I am farmer, I have a unique platform to affect change in both the farm/salmon and food security arenas.

I hope it is not lost on you that when you buy a box of good for your family or for the food bank, you too are also saying yes to leaving this community a better place for the next generations, a place with livable communities, good jobs, fresh air and clean water. Supporting a local business and local farms is not doing nothing – IT IS DOING SOMETHING!


Together we are making a difference, a local difference.


Thank you,


Tristan Klesick

Your Farmer and Community Health Advocate