I adore how Grocery Story begins the book by defining what they are talking about- food systems. In particular, they will be talking about food co-ops, but before the book gets into that, it starts with the larger concept of a food system.
In the book, a food system is defined as:
Jon Steinman wrote:The processes and infrastructure involved in feeding a population: growing, harvesting, processing, packaging, transporting, marketing, consumption and disposal of food. It also includes the inputs needed and outputs generated at each of these steps. A food system operates within and is influenced by social, political, economic and environmental contexts. It also requires human resources that provide labor, research and education.
For some people, a food system might look like the industrial food system might look like this sequence from the movie Samsara:
The food sequence shows industrially raised animals and industrially processed food.
For others, a food system might look like a farm to table dinner, like they have at the Root Bottom Farm:
"n 2016 we sold most of our belongings and left the city in southern California to start a small homestead in the mountains of North Carolina. We left the city in search for a more minimal and intentional life. We became passionate about growing our own food and knowing what exactly is in our food after I (Jason) became diagnosed with cancer. Now 8 years in remission we as a family are on a journey to live our passions."
However, for some a food system might look more like food co-op- for example, the Orcas Food Co-op:
"The Orcas Food Co-op is a member-owned cooperative that focuses on providing high quality local and organic, non-gmo food as well as other goods and services that benefit the community. Anyone can shop at the co-op and everyone is welcome. Co-op members are financially invested in the Co-op and share equal ownership with other members. In return, members receive special benefits such as 10% off one shop of their choice every month, 5% off bulk department items every day, discounts on case special orders, and eligibility for patronage dividends as the co-op matures. "
Though, even further still, for some a food system might just be as magnificent as this forest garden Martin Crawford made:
"Instead of neat rows of monoculture, forest gardens combine fruit and nut trees, shrubs, herbs, vines and perennial vegetables together in one seemingly wild setting. This type of agroforestry mimics natural ecosystems and uses the space available in a sustainable way. UK-based Martin Crawford is one of the pioneers of forest gardening. Starting out with a flat field in 1994, his land has been transformed into a woodland and serves as an educational resource for others interested in forest gardening. This short film by Thomas Regnault focuses on Crawford's forest garden, which is abundant, diverse, edible, and might be one answer to the future of food systems."
What does a food system mean to me personally? Basically it is my homestead farm and local community. I could eat entirely off my farm, but I enjoy the variety that trading within my community provides. Yeah, we "cheat" on Saturdays when we socialize with friends over a restaurant meal.
It's never too late to start! I retired to homestead on the slopes of Mauna Loa, an active volcano. I relate snippets of my endeavor on my blog : www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
Looking forward to engaging with you all August 19-23 to discuss my new book: Grocery Story - The Promise of Food Co-ops in the Age of Grocery Giants. Thanks Permies.com for bringing attention to this important topic. :)
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