Food is the Basis for Local Economy Building

The Wallace Center, a program at Winrock International,just published a report called Community Food Enterprise: Local Success in a Global Market Place.

My main takeaways from reading the executive summary and introduction of the report:

  • Local food enterprises can scale.
  • The analyzed enterprises put considerable investment into achieving social goals beyond private profit.
  • Food is one of the most important entry points for local economy building.

Triple Pundit published a more detailed summary.

Food and sustainability discussion going mainstream?

Boing Boing picked up on an article in TIME magazine about food and sustainability.

The article essentially retells Michal Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma story about the hidden costs for workers, health, and environment of mass-produced cheap food and cites some companies that are starting to look for healthier and more sustainably produced ingredients.

Does this mean that the food and sustainability discussion finally goes mainstream?

How willing are consumers to rethink the way they shop for — and eat — food? For most people, price will remain the biggest obstacle.

What is our place in the food system?

Louise Fresco shares her vision for our future food system – probably closer to reality than either the fossil fuel dependent industrial or the local organic model. Just does not feel as good as the local, organic vision!

It makes sense to assume that our future food needs are met by a system that lies between those models, that we will use technology (including biotech) as much as we can within the bounds of what is healthy for us humans and the environment. And she certainly has a point, when arguing that we cannot expect poor people to continue spent all their time to meet their food needs often using nothing but their hands, when we only have to go to the supermarket after work to buy what we need thanks to mechanized agriculture.

A great quote that is also shared on the TED site: “There is no technical reason why we could not feed a world of nine billion people. Hunger is a matter of buying power, not of shortages.” –Louise Fresco, NRC Handelsblad

Planned change or rebuilding from scratch?

The following is not only true for the US food system:

The American food system rests on an unstable foundation of massive fossil fuel inputs. It must be reinvented in the face of declining fuel stocks. The new food system will use less energy, and the energy it uses will come from renewable sources. We can begin the transition to the new system immediately through a process of planned, graduated, rapid change. The unplanned alternative-reconstruction from scratch after collapse-would be chaotic and tragic.

via REPORT: The Food and Farming Transition | Post Carbon Institute.

A commentary on the report was published on Treehugger:

While the report clearly articulates the trouble confronting a food system that has developed an addition to cheap oil, it also intelligently details what the US can do to survive when the drug is withdrawn, as it soon will be.

The full report can be found here.

Brazilian City Makes Food A Basic Right And Ends Hunger : TreeHugger

Initiative in Belo Horizonte, my new home base:

Back in 1993, the newly elected city government of Belo Horizonte, Brazil declared that food was a right of citizenship. At that time, the city of 2.5 million had 275,000 people living in absolute poverty, and close to 20 percent of its children were going hungry. Since the declaration the city has all but wiped out hunger and only spends 2% of the city budget to do so.

via Brazilian City Makes Food A Basic Right And Ends Hunger : TreeHugger.