More Articles on Redesign - Food Security and Sovereignty

Grow and Eat Local Food

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Local Production

The best answer to this problem lies in far greater local, organic production of food, both at country farms and within homes, apartments and community gardens in the cities.[1]  This would also dramatically reduce the energy being used for food distribution; as the majority of people would be within walking distance of the farm used to produce their food.[2]  A new global business in distribution of nutrients, vertical farming and associated materials would need to be established to support this change.  Once this system of local food production was established, the current corporate dominated market would lose all demand and relevance; so we can expect fierce resistance from this quarter as the idea takes hold.[3]

Food Sourcing

Food Sourcing Pyramid

The food sourcing pyramid shows the practical changes to make to the way you approach the question of food.[4]  Changing to purchasing directly from farmers or even growing your own does not have to happen overnight.  You can spend time changing one kind of food at a time and then letting that become habit before changing the next. For example, source fruit and vegetables from an organic food delivery service and then get used to the new variety of seasonal produce this will introduce you to.  Next consider returning to butchers for meat, local bakers for bread and sustainable shops for household cleaners, biodegradable corn plastic bags and fair trade produce.  The change does not need to be a shock all at once; as you swap out each source, you are likely to discover personal benefits you hadn’t realized existed.  This might include cooking new and varied recipes by being more aware of the produce and meat you’re purchasing or simply enjoying the lack of lengthy supermarket queues in your weekly life.

Reinventing Australian Gardens

Food gardens have a long and varied, history in Australia; made diverse by the myriad of people from around the world arriving over time and bringing their food cultures with them.  From the market gardens of the gold rush era Chinese immigrants to the backyard tomato and vegetable farms of European families arriving after World War 2, Australia has hosted an incredible variety of styles, sizes and approaches to the food garden.  The last few decades, however have seen a move to an urban culture increasingly separated from food production that has seen a strong counter-culture emerge to bring food gardens back into daily life.  With the global food production market dominated by multinational corporations, the act of growing your own becomes a daily protest action for change.

The Permaculture movement began in Australia in 1978 and spread worldwide over time to great effect.  The focus of permaculture is to create a ‘permanent agriculture’ that involves interacting systems to create a sustainable food garden.

The central principles are neatly summarized thus:

  • Care for the earth: Provision for all life systems to continue and multiply. This is the first principle, because without a healthy earth, humans cannot flourish.
  • Care for the people: Provision for people to access those resources necessary for their existence.
  • Return of surplus: Reinvesting surpluses back into the system to provide for the first two ethics. This includes returning waste back into the system to recycle into usefulness.

These principles form a great foundation for any sustainable system, anywhere in the world.[5]  In designing a garden these principles and the global community of people dedicated to helping each other, form a working practice to help everyone to ensure their own food security.  An example of an idea supported by Permaculture is Aquaponics.  This is the creation of a system whereby fish and plants grow and thrive together, providing for each other in a permanent cycle that also allows us to have a source of fresh fish and produce at the same time.[6]  This is just one such community working today in Australia, another large movement involves community gardens.

Reclaiming unused space around public housing, disused land and creating new roof and vertical gardens are all features of community gardening.[7]  This is a healthy and growing group across Australia that is seeking to bring people back together in local communities to grow food and share the experience together.  These might be city farms, public housing organizations or even long term collectives.  Some community gardens do follow permaculture principles and others allow families without their own backyards to grow their own produce.  The effect of both Permaculture and community gardens is to provide a huge support network for people who are interested in reclaiming food production for themselves – whether or not you own the land required.[8]

For those looking within their own properties, vertical gardens and roof gardens provide an efficient way to grow produce in limited space as well as improving the look and feel of any building.[9]  They also provide great benefits when used to shade the external walls or roof of your home as they act as an extra layer of insulation and cool the area as water evaporates.[10]  Both kinds of gardens can be used as a herb and spice garden at home and then extend to seasonal vegetables as space allows. [11]

These are all active strategies to begin to reduce the current Australian dependence on commercial farming to ensure a better future for our grandchildren.

 


[1] http://monthlyreview.org/2013/03/01/cuban-urban-agriculture-as-a-strategy-for-food-sovereignty

[2] http://www.epa.vic.gov.au/ecologicalfootprint/calculators/personal/docs/EF-tips-food.pdf

[3] http://www.corporatewatch.org/?lid=3713

[4] http://www.sustainabletable.org.au/Hungryforinfo/What-you-can-do/tabid/121/Default.aspx

[5] http://permacultureprinciples.com/principles/

[6] http://aquaponics.net.au/

[7] http://communitygarden.org.au/

[8] http://www.actpla.act.gov.au/tools_resources/research_based_planning_for_a_better_city/demand_for_community_gardens_and_their_benefits?SQ_DESIGN_NAME=printer_friendly

[9] http://www.heraldsun.com.au/business/vertical-gardens-are-on-the-way-up-among-inner-city-green-thumbs/story-fn7j19iv-1226239029490

[10] http://www.globalchange.com/roof-gardens-impact-on-energy-saving.htm

[11] http://imap.vic.gov.au/uploads/Growing%20Green%20Guide/Growing%20Green%20Guide%20FINAL%20DRAFT%20website4.pdf


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