The People of the PinchIMG-7992.jpg

Written by: Ashley Fine


We are the people of the pinch

We cup our eager palms beneath a narrow funnel

And catch a thin trickle of the future in our hands.


History pours herself into a wide stretched mouth

And surrounds the tongue with stories of our origins

Remembering the taste of our past


From wild beginnings of grass and seed

We selected in succession

The tree of life spread her leg-ish limbs

And gave birth to accidental forms.


Saving each success

We gathered baskets of grain and medicine,

Fruit and fuel

The edifice of civilization was constructed in muddy furrows

By women kneeling down, on calloused knees,

In fields they made fertile.


Time favors change

and living lends to loss

But adversity ushers in diversity

And mutation is the enzyme of our evolution


Yet, we the people,

are now pinched.

We fill our plates with food we cannot taste

Grown by the farmer that has no face.

We tear open the bag to eat

Things we cannot digest.

Homogeny hits the back of the throat,

And we choke in the bottleneck built by our industry


The straight carrot shows no dirt.

The white corn has no worm.

Red and Delicious,

Washed and Waxed,

Packaged in Plastic for supermarket stage lights.

We’ve adopted a uniform of uniformity and cinched our belts too tight.

We exhale into our own extinction and have left no space to breathe.


Yet, we are the people of the pinch.

Let us throw off these clothes

And sew a new pair of genes

Out of homespun fabric, woven on our heirlooms


Let us slip on a new seed coat, colorful, and imperfect

And stretch open our limbs, once again.


In our abandonment of abundance

We must save what most cannot remember.

We must preserve our stories in cool jars,

Stored in dry darkness.


We are the people of the pinch

Who winnow the chaff

And dust the wind with old seeds

that will nourish a new generation


We are the people of the pinch

Who reincarnate our ancestors in small gardens.

Who tend to gnarled roots and blind worms

Knowing they will reinvent our waste

Into fresh fruit for us to eat.


As people of the pinch

Let us give thanks to the water table for filling the dinner table,

Let us honor the bee for making our milk.

Let us taste the labor in our lettuce,

and sunshine in our butter.

Let us lift our glasses and amplify our voices,

Singing a chorus of gratitude and praise.


Here’s to the cross pollinators… and the cross dressers

Here’s to the self pollinators... and the self-employed farmers


Let us cultivate tri-colored carrots in our gardens

And cultivate equity for all colors of people in our communities


Here’s to the farm workers and the dishwashers,

To the elders and the infants

Here’s to the rhizomes

The sturdy roots on which we build our homes.

Here’s to the people of the pinch.



Who We Are

We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening seed and food security in our region.

Our mission is to assure a diverse and abundant supply of seeds for the Rocky Mountain West through networking, education and helping establish community-based models of seed stewardship.



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  PO Box 4736 • Ketchum, ID 83340