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FOOD: Growing Community Food Systems by Erika Allen

FOOD: Growing Community Food Systems by Erika Allen

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"The idea of a community food system is much larger than just urban farming. It deals with everything, all the components that are needed to establish, maintain, and perpetually sustain a civilization.

Urban farming is key in the reclamation of an Earth and ecology-based value system, and it plays an important role: We need urban food production, communities growing food in an urban environment. But with a community food system, neighborhood stakeholders are the ones growing that food, moving it around, and in control of land tenure or wherever soil-, food-, and Earth-based materials are being grown."
"The idea of a community food system is much larger than just urban farming. It deals with everything, all the components that are needed to establish, maintain, and perpetually sustain a civilization.

Urban farming is key in the reclamation of an Earth and ecology-based value system, and it plays an important role: We need urban food production, communities growing food in an urban environment. But with a community food system, neighborhood stakeholders are the ones growing that food, moving it around, and in control of land tenure or wherever soil-, food-, and Earth-based materials are being grown."

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Published by: Post Carbon Institute on Aug 30, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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08/29/2014

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The Pst Carbn Reader Series: Fd
Grwing Cmmunity Fd Systems
By Erika Allen
 
Abut the Authr
Erika Allen is Chicago projects manager or Growing Power, a nationally acclaimed nonproft organizationand land trust providing equal access to healthy andaordable ood, especially in disadvantaged communi-ties. She is co-chair o the Chicago Food Policy AdvisoryCouncil and was appointed in 2008 to the IllinoisLocal and Organic Food and Farm Task Force. In 2009she and her ather, Growing Power ounder Will Allen, were eatured in the
 New York Times Magazine
. Shehas a bachelor o fne arts rom the School o the ArtInstitute o Chicago and a master o arts in art therapyrom the University o Illinois at Chicago. Allen is aFellow o Post Carbon Institute.Post Carbon Institute© 2010613 4th Street, Suite 208Santa Rosa, Caliornia 95404 USAThis publication is an excerpted chapter rom
The Post Carbon Reader: Managing the 21st Century’sSustainability Crises
, Richard Heinberg and DanielLerch, eds. (Healdsburg, CA: Watershed Media, 2010).For other book excerpts, permission to reprint, and purchasing visit http://www.postcarbonreader.com.
 
GRoG CoT Foo SSTES1 TE PoST CARBo REAER SERES
This chapter is adapted from an interview with Erika Allen by Daniel Lerch on January 24, 2010.
Cmmunity Fd Systems
The idea o a community ood system is much largerthan just urban arming. It deals with everything, allthe components that are needed to establish, maintain,and perpetually sustain a civilization.Urban arming is key in the reclamation o an Earth-and ecology-based value system, and it plays an impor-tant role: We need urban ood production, communitiesgrowing ood in an urban environment. But with a
com-munity food system
, neighborhood stakeholders are theones growing that ood, moving it around, and in con-trol o land tenure or wherever soil-, ood-, and Earth-based materials are being grown. Basically we are talking about sovereignty, about having land and water rights.This is not a new concept; indigenous communitiesglobally struggle with powerul external entities thatattempt to extract raw and reined resources romland that has traditionally been stewarded by ami-lies who understand the natural laws o replenishmentand proper natural-resource management. In a locally-operated ood system we engage all members o thecommunity, taking special care to engage the most mar-ginalized members and those most impacted by oodand land degradation. We begin with simple questions:“Where are you going to get water rom, and how are you getting the water?” “Who makes the decision abouthow land—open space and commercial space—is being used?”These simple questions activate civic and civil rightsand accountability with government, because there arealways regulatory issues and agendas that (as is otenrevealed) community members are unaware o and havenot been included in the conversations. So true sustain-ability in terms o community ood systems meansthat disenranchised people, especially youth and theiramilies, are involved in the process not only as ben-eiciaries o “good (and carbon-neutral) ood” but ascentral participants in the planning, development, andexecution o the ood system, including its interlocking  parts: energy, housing, public transportation, economicdevelopment, and so on. You’re building a whole inra-structure that supports local ood systems.This is how we dierentiate it in our thinking atGrowing Power, because we don’t just do urban arm-ing. We work with youth, go to markets, do advocacy work around policy, write grants, give talks—and allthose things are connected and part o reestablishing unctional communities and ood systems. We have aood security program where people pay a basic weeklyee or year-round ood security, and in return theyget a bag o ood with resh ruits and vegetables bothrom local wholesalers and rom stu that we produce
 
In a community oodsystem, neighborhoodstakeholders are theones growing anddistributing the ood.

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