Accepting complexity’ of the food system

From a lecture of Carolyn Steel, author of Hungry City

Bifurcation in the food system often leads to polarized and unproductive debates about the future of food systems.  Carolyn suggested that we see the true complexity, and go beyond these dichotomous debates.
Working with the enemy: to what extent should researchers and nonprofit organisations work with large corporate actors toward sustainability?  Are we doing anything new if we’re working with the corporations?  Carolyn said that ultimately it is a paradox — there is no ideal solution.  But the important thing to examine is: what are the models that we need to move forward?  Carolyn suggested a control for scale – so that supermarkets don’t get so big and powerful that they no longer need to play by the rules.  But the question of ‘How do we deal with Wal-Mart?’ needs to be attacked with a  ’multi-faceted, multi-front’ approach — seeing the complexities of the reality and the several different types of solutions that might address these problems.
What can encourage systemic changes, other than a ‘crisis’, such as the Havana urban farming (2000) example or the UK Dig for Victory (1940) example?  Carolyn said that in truth we are in crisis, but no one is acting like it’s a crisis.  In reality, we are almost at the tipping point, so the question is ‘what is going to push us over the edge?’
Source: Sustainable Food Blog


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