Healthy food is the mantra at Funny Duck Farm, just north of Brockville in Ontario. When Samantha Klinck and her husband, Aaron, bought their 96-acre property in 2001, it hadn’t been farmed since the 1970s. Samantha said its pastures were “almost visible” in spite of the trees, brush and rubble left behind by the previous owner.
Unable to afford expensive, heavy equipment, Samantha and Aaron relied on their foraging livestock – mostly pigs – to help clear the land. It’s a long process, but it fits their “all organic” CSA philosophy. Samantha’s sister, Jen, manages a second farm nearby. Shares include a bit of everything grown on the two farms: beef, pork, chicken, duck, lamb, eggs, honey, maple syrup, and veggies.
Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design / Angela Moreno-Long / 24 October 2016
Local food systems in rural communities can provide much more than just access to high quality food, food systems are linked to the economic vitality, sustainability and health of communities. The Iowa State University Community Design Lab produced an “Agricultural Urbanism” toolkit for revitalizing local food systems in order to create resilient communities, promote social equity and build financial sustainability. Don’t let the “urbanism” title fool you, agricultural urbanism is a process which can be used in cities and towns of any size across America–the key idea is integrating food systems and agriculture into the planning, design, and social fabric of communities. The Agricultural Urbanism Toolkit highlights pilot projects at multiple scales that use creative design solutions for local food systems.
There are hundreds of examples of how this might begin, such as community shops, development trusts, food assemblies (communities buying fresh food directly from local producers), community choirs and free universities (in which people exchange knowledge and skills in social spaces). Also time banking (where neighbours give their time to give practical help and support to others), transition towns (where residents try to create more sustainable economies), potluck lunch clubs (in which everyone brings a homemade dish to share), local currencies, Men’s Sheds (in which older men swap skills and escape from loneliness), turning streets into temporary playgrounds (like the Playing Out project), secular services (such as Sunday Assembly), lantern festivals, fun palaces and technology hubs.
Turning such initiatives into a wider social revival means creating what practitioners call “thick networks”: projects that proliferate, spawning further ventures and ideas that weren’t envisaged when they started. They then begin to develop a dense, participatory culture that becomes attractive and relevant to everyone rather than mostly to socially active people with time on their hands.
Based on your April 2016 Conversation about Food Matters community input we will be focusing on the following broad directions:
Support to our members and partners in their work to increase the population’s food literacy including food skills – both in the schools and in the community. This can include supporting existing initiatives, sharing information, and learning about the various models of community food hubs.
Advocating for and working towards a strong community garden network – defining community as it may be appropriate – municipal land, private land, at schools, community areas, communal living spaces, etc.
Doing what we can to advocate for and support our members and partners who work towards decreasing food insecurity through decreasing poverty.
To more clearly define our work for the next 12 months we need to know who is interested in being actively involved so we can be sure to take on only what we can realistically handle. If you, or a representative from your agency or group, or someone else you know would like be actively involved with the Food Matters Coalition Steering Committee, please let us know by January 13, 2017.
Ma’ikwe Schaub Ludwig is the Executive Director of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, the pioneering sustainability educator who heads up Ecovillage Education US, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Fellowship for Intentional Community. She believes strongly that sustainability is possible, assuming we can learn to cooperate, share and assess what really makes us happy, rather than staying bought in to the material excess culture we’ve been raised in.
The Eastern Ontario Local Food Conference is just around the corner and this year’s focus is all about resilience in the face of climate change and other contemporary challenges. Join us, and best-selling local food author and CBC columnist Sarah Elton, as we explore ways that Eastern Ontario local food and its producers, processors and influencers can meet those challenges and seize opportunities that are unique to Eastern Ontario local food.
WHEN: November 22 – 23
WHERE: Maranatha Church, Belleville, ON
Resilience is the ability of a system or community to withstand impacts from outside. An indicator is a good way of measuring that. Conventionally, the principal way of measuring a reducing carbon footprint is CO2 emissions. However, we firmly believe that cutting carbon while failing to build resilience is an insufficient response when you’re trying to address multiple shocks such as peak oil, climate change and the economic crisis together.
The biosphere has surpassed limits of both what can be safely extracted but also dumped into our various ‘sinks’: our planet’s ability to absorb and process waste, such as carbon and methane, In a small economy, circa 1900, we could ignore these limits. But with the pace of exponential growth since then, we have surpassed our earth’s carrying capacity.