GRoG CoT Foo SSTES1 TE PoST CARBo REAER SERES
This chapter is adapted from an interview with Erika Allen by Daniel Lerch on January 24, 2010.
Cmmunity Fd 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 powerul external entities thatattempt to extract raw and reined 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 otenrevealed) community members are unaware o and havenot been included in the conversations. So true sustain-ability in terms o community ood systems meansthat disenranchised people, especially youth and theiramilies, are involved in the process not only as ben-eiciaries 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 inra-structure that supports local ood systems.This is how we dierentiate 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 aood security program where people pay a basic weeklyee or year-round ood security, and in return theyget a bag o ood with resh ruits and vegetables bothrom local wholesalers and rom stu that we produce
In a community oodsystem, neighborhoodstakeholders are theones growing anddistributing the ood.