If you want to live in the international trade world and think farmers
and rural communities around the world can survive and prosper in that
context, fine. A few of them can, and some farmers and communities are
doing wonderfully in the dominant food system. I'm glad, however, that
people like Misha can take your "constructive" criticism, Douglas, and
not be fazed by it. For many of the people I work with in both inner
cities and rural areas, the global organization of the food and
agriculture system has done nothing but take away their livelihoods and
their access to good wholesome food. Don't call Misha and others like
us some "ivory tower" academics because believe me we are out there
working with farmers and consumers every single day, and we are trying
to understand what works and what doesn't work.
Seasonality can be an important function in reestablishing
community-based food systems. It can help people get in touch with how
a basic necessity of life is produced and consumed. It can help farmers
in places like the Midwest compete within a global food system that
externalizes environmental and social costs of year-round production.
It can help farmers and eaters build the ties that make communities
vital, vibrant, and viable. Of course, seasonality isn't the only
thing, but rather a part of revisioning and reestablishing what a food
system rooted in place and community can be. If you think that's pie in
the sky, fine. However, don't tell that to the farmers, rural
communities, and eaters in both rural and urban areas that are seeking
to change the food system and being successful. If you want to know how
successful these endeavors can be -- in terms of quality of life as well
as economic viability -- you can ask people in the Iowa Network for
Community Agriculture, the Kansas City Food Circle, the MACSAC
coalition, the Just Food organization in New York City and on and on.
Or ask the individual farmers and eaters who are involved in these
projects. And don't tell me these alternatives are so small they are
insignificant. They are very significant for the people who are
participating in them and we are learning every day what kinds of
alternatives to a dominant system work and what kinds don't do as well.
That's not ivory tower -- that's action at the local level.
-- Mary Hendrickson, Ph.D. Network Coordinator Food Circles Networking Project University of Missouri Outreach and Extension Department of Rural Sociology Columbia, MO 65211
Tele: 573-882-7463 Fax: 573-882-1473
To Unsubscribe: Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the command "unsubscribe sanet-mg". To Subscribe to Digest: Email email@example.com with the command "subscribe sanet-mg-digest".
All messages to sanet-mg are archived at: http://www.sare.org/htdocs/hypermail