Food is one of those special needs of human beings that is also so often part of the social fabric and history of a place. It is not only a delicious way to nourish the body but is a multi-sensory delight and part of the social contracts that knit communities together.
Fresh air, clean water, shelter, love, all basic human needs but none perhaps with as much emphasis on the sensual as food!
However, many threats to food security should cause us alarm.
An answer that seems to bypass the usually divisions of politics and class are the community-driven food-justice organizations that are inclusive, open to anyone who wants to participate at any level. Food justice and security issues impact everyone from farmers and farm workers, to restaurant owners and workers and the corporations and systems that produce and supply food.
An interest in a food system that produces safe, nourishing and accessible food for everyone without risking the future of the food of future generations by degrading the environment cuts across all sectors of society’s interests. We all understand that we enjoy and use our natural resources as a loan from our children.
In many communities across the US and Canada, organizations have begun to map food deserts! These identify mostly urban areas where there is a paucity of stores and markets that offer fresh, good quality food as well as problem stores that only offer only junk food and alcohol. Some are more positive in their focus, mapping grocery stores, farmers markets, community gardens.
An interesting example of the latter is our local Food Secure Vancouver site!
We hope to have our own community gardens at 22nd Street Skytrain Station on that map soon!