Today at the Food System Alliance meeting I got a little discouraged with the analysis of our theme issue, the false dichotomy between affordable healthful food and the triple bottom line. In addressing the issue we had been looking at producers and low income consumers and naming things that bridge the two. But it seemed to me that this market-based dichotomy was obscuring the true challenges and opportunities in recognizing that all of us in the local food system are already related, and all have or could have a share in various facets of the system. So I opted out of the small group exercise.
But when in a second round of small groups we addressed the food system goals to mark progress over the last few years, I was very present to the conversation around Pillar 4, Social Equity. Goal 10 is where we have really missed the mark, I think, "Ensure the inclusion of underserved and underrepresented communities in conversations and policy-making about Sonoma County's Food System."
I opined in the plenary feedback session that most of us know that we must move from hunger relief and charitable activities to thinking in terms of food security, but now we need to envision and work toward food sovereignty. I thought I was alone, but five of the 25 people responded later with thoughtful comments or the need to plan to talk more. And one person said when he heard the phrase food sovereignty it sent shivers down his spine. I wish my preaching had ever had that much impact!
There's so much work to do, but I feel it may be possible to make a sound beginning.