I learned everything I know about organic carrots from the Zapruder film. Let me explain.
The Zapruder film -- that amateur video documenting the fateful moments of JFK's assassination -- changed film making forever, creating a whole new genre dedicated to capturing the real actions of real people in real time. This was the advent of Cinema Verite, media that promised to get us closer to the truth by bringing us the unvarnished facts.
Yet, according to an article in the New York Times, "The most closely analyzed film ever made is still open to interpretation." Frame by frame, scrutinized in the minutest detail for decades by experts and amateurs of every stripe, we still cannot determine the most basic facts. Did Oswald act alone? Was Kennedy also shot from the front? Was there a conspiracy? What about the pristine bullet? "The truth," the Times article concludes, "Will never be known."
I am struck by those words: "The truth will never be known."
This week, I've been reminded how fundamentally my life was changed by JFK's assassination, and Oswald's murder, and the failure of Warren Commissions' findings to reassure the public that the truth had been discovered. Lessons about truth and military-industrial institutions and the crude, violent machinations of American culture were imprinted upon us all that day.
Here we are 50 years later, buried in information and all manner of media bringing it to us in the Verite-est of ways, yet what more do we know? Are we any closer to the truth?
Watching, once again, the chilling frames of the Zapruder film, I realize that ever since those fateful moments I've been on a long, slow journey away from what I don't believe and towards something -- anything -- in which I can deeply and wholeheartedly believe.
What I have arrived at is nothing grand. It is the opposite of grand. It is neither a theology nor an ideology. It is not a myth. It isn't even really a story. What I am referring to is organic carrots.
I believe in everything that makes organic carrots possible and everything that organic carrots make possible: health, the pleasures of the palate, Four Season Farm and its many sisters, the resilience of community, the fertility of the soil, the myriad critters therein (the soil that is, with billions of micro-organisms in a gram and most species not yet even named) and all manner of relationships that are not reducible to simple transactions or complicated nutrient metrics or sophisticated acts of quantification.
After a career's-worth of business plans and finance committee meetings and board meetings and strategic plans, after the Dow at 16,000 and 250 billion McDonald's burgers, after all the mission-related investing and triple-bottom-line investing and impact investing, after all the Cinema Verite and YouTube videos and Facebook postings and Tweets, we are no closer to the truth.
We need more than Cinema Verite. We need Food Verite. We need Finance Verite. We need something called nurture capital -- reconnecting people to the places where they live, to one another and to the land, promoting diversity and preserving and restoring the commons.
Meanwhile, we've got organic carrots.
Woody Tasch, author of the book "Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered," is the founder and chairman of Slow Money, a nonprofit headquartered in Boulder, Colo., with an alliance of national and international chapters. Slow Money produces the live-event crowdfunding platform Gatheround.