Food Commons 2.0

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= report on a Food Commons demonstration project in the U.S., from 2011



From the foreword by Fred Kirschenmann:

"A food revolution is definitely underway. Just a few years ago no one could have imagined a book written about food being on the New York Times best seller list for years. Furthermore, probably no one could have imagined a major metropolitan area like New York City producing a city-wide food charter, called “Foodworks,” which approximates a comprehensive set of city-wide innovations that speak to some of the food challenges we are likely to face. All of this is evidence that the era of passive food “consumers” is over and a new era of engaged food “citizens” is rapidly emerging.

As a result, “food sovereignty” (the phenomenon of an engaged community of citizens determining a food system that satisfies its own interests and concerns) is emerging. The era of “fast, convenient and cheap” is gradually being replaced by what Rick Schnieders, past CEO of SYSCO, called “memory, romance and trust.” In other words, this new food citizen not only wants food that is so good she builds a memory connection with it, she also want a good food story (knowing where the food came from, how it was produced, and how people and nature were treated along the way), and she wants a trusting relationship. All of this is creating an interest in designing a new food structure, one that is regional instead of global in scope, one that enables people to be connected, one in which as much of the food is produced by people in their own regional “food shed” for people in the region, and one in which exports and imports are a second priority. Advocates of this new “food shed” structure now imagine a future global food system consisting of regional food networks connected to each other through information and appropriate trade relationships. Such a network of regional food systems will attend to appropriate regional food ecologies, respond to regional tastes and be designed for resilience and community food security. The era of a homogenized, one-size-fits-all global food system (which is increasingly dysfunctional at many levels) will be replaced by a diversified network of regional food systems each appropriate to place, and designed to meet local needs." (