Food Security, Food Sustainability, Local Food availability

And…Pivot!

I spent all of this past weekend in my office mapping (NOT napping), thinking and reading. I am finding much more focus now. The fact is that small-scale farmers can’t afford to live on the income they make from farming alone. With that kind of carrot on the stick, there aren’t going to be a lot of people motivated to farm. Fewer local farms = less local produce = higher prices = more imported food.  And there I am, back where I started, eyes tearing with frustration at having to buy Mexican tomatoes.

Fewer local farms = less local produce = higher prices = more imported food.

So my target is distribution, with my “customers” being small-scale local farmers as primary and “retailers” as secondary (retailers in quotes as these can be anyone from the farmers themselves to smaller grocery stores). The distribution element has come up over and over again as one of the three biggest barriers to accessibility of local food, the others being education (farmers and the public for different reasons) and business acumen.

I will facilitate a workshop with some of the wonderful people I have interviewed over the course of the last few months. They are experts. They know the problem space. I will also include design students whose wide-open thinking can help pull people who are too deep in the problem out of their comfort zone. I will invite a couple of people with food logistics expertise to help inform things from a larger scale…and well see what we can come up with! I plan to work with the many research and facilitation skills I have acquired through the Leading by Design Program and the goal will be to generate as many possible business models as possible.

I’m looking forward to this. I want to see small-scale mixed farming grow the thrive in and around Metro Vancouver. I’m hoping I can be part of the solution.

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Food Security, Food Sustainability, Local Food availability

Eat Your Own!

Ilana Labow and Marc Schutzbank are such an inspiration! They know about the hidden connections between the things we consume and the people who provide them. They have personally been in places like the Congo — home of the longest running war in history and where violence and rape are the norm — where the metals that run our phones and other gadgets are mined. They shed light on the farms in North America where the workers are unfairly paid and work in poor conditions. Marc says,

“We can change the way the world functions by changing the way we eat.”

There is a ripple effect in every choice we make as consumers. When 74% of students in a survey didn’t know that tortilla chips contained corn, we need to better understand what is in our food and where it comes from. Locally grown food brings the chain of production down to a human scale and allows us to see exactly how what we consume is produced.

Ilana and Marc are Co-Directors of Fresh Roots Urban Farm Society. They have created urban school farms in Vancouver with the help of VanCity and many, many hands. They have created neighbourhood food assets in the places that most need them in the city. They have helped create living classrooms and awareness of where our food comes from.

I invite you to watch the first 30 minutes or so of this video where Ilana and Marc speak at Creative Mornings Vancouver. They are such inspiring leaders and I thank them for helping to inspire me. (And thanks to Mark Busse for his incredible energy in making events like this happen!)

 

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I thought it might be helpful for you to meet me and hear what I’m doing. I should add that I have nothing in particular against importing food if it’s something we don’t grow here. But why do we: put trucks on the road; using fossil fuels we’re running out of; that are eroding the ozone layer and changing the climate on the planet, when we can grow those things right HERE?

I want collaboration with anyone who cares about local food and I invite you to contact me at mhrynkow@cca.edu.