Building community through food

Posted on Posted in Economics, Environment, Food
 potatoes-533577_1920One way we can use the land to benefit local communities and our environment is through food projects. We can produce food that is affordable, fresh, and organic while sharing the load with other people.

Food projects are things like allotments, guerrilla gardens, community gardens, community cafes, community markets or campaign groups.

As I outlined in my previous post, industrial agriculture needs to be replaced by sustainable agriculture on a large scale. But small scale projects dotted around communities, particularly in towns and cities can create better access to fresh food, helped us be more connected to our food sources and gain some control back from supermarkets, who control over 80% of the retail food market.

vegetables-1529726Most of us know the health and environmental benefits of growing our food. But that is not possible for everyone.  Food projects are a collective way of sharing the responsibility with other people, encouraging self-reliance, increasing food knowledge, conserving resources, exercising and therapy. It is also about reclaiming our public spaces – which are under threat from property developers.

 

What can I do?

  • Find a local food project or start your own (just start it and invite others to join).  Fife Diet began when a group asked themselves ‘Why don’t we eat more food from near where we live?’
  • The Real Junk Food Project has a network of pay as you feel cafes.  It diverts food destined for waste and uses it to create healthy meals.  You can find a list of cafés here
  • Buy food directly from producers. Riverford or another organic box scheme can deliver food to your house (organic food isn’t always more expensive, especially if you buy it direct from the producer and cut out the supermarkets)
  • Support the work of Food Ethics Council, who are concerned with creating a fairer food system.
  • Buy from local farmers and those farmers engaging in sustainable agriculture.  You can find those farmers by searching here
  • Support the Land Workers Alliance British agricultural policy that connects the needs of small-scale farms, the environment, and healthy food.
  • Eat less meat (or eat grass-fed meat), less junk, more plants.
Here is a short video from Five Acre Farm based in Ryton, near Coventry. Members sustain the group by subscribing to a weekly box of produce grown on the farm. The farm employs one full-time grower and relies on members volunteering to help with the growing.