Our world is a nexus of interconnections, mutual influences and interrelations. Nothing demonstrates it more than societal relationship with food. Food is the source code for the functioning of our civilization, and food systems underpin the ongoing co-evolution of nature ecosystems and societies.
The multiple disruptions to the Holocene balance we are seeing as a a result of the 20th century growth paradigm set by global capitalism, leads us to question the fundamental meaning of food.
We are battling between the model of food as an anonymous commodity, a raw material with caloric label for global trade, versus the view of food intimately nested in our relationships with each other, with the land and our communities. The contrast between the two alternative models of feeding the growing world's population with limited resources of planet Earth could not be more stark.
On the one hand, we have the supermarket culture - the apex of the old world order in terms of food production and redistribution. With its seemingly unmatchable efficiency, the supermarket model has detracted a significant part of society from the need to cultivate the land and from the mindful stewardship over natural resources. Its destructive social, cultural, economic and ecological implications remain hard to digest. Skillfully concealing the environmental costs of industrial/chemical agriculture, the supermarket culture renders the negative effects on soil, water, and biodiversity imperceptible. As a result, the bases of our common existence remain heavily threatened, until it may be too late to deal with their consequences.
On the other hand, nearly across the whole world, new sustainable, grassroots forms of food production and redistribution are dynamically emerging. They are correlated with the nascent awareness of our place in the Earth's ecosystem. Permaculture, agroecology, urban agriculture and cooperativism, are just a few approaches, in which the interconnectedness of all beings and ecosystems is honoured. Based on ecological design principles and regenerative feedback loops, they create cultural blueprints for interconnecting anew individual and planetary health.
Small visions matter. The supermarket culture has been with us for only a few decades. It can be changed as fast as it appeared in the first place. The work of weaving together our creative imaginations is one step towards finding ecologically-informed patterns of a new societal DNA that will invert the downward environmental spiral with the principles of food solidarity at the heart. We are seeing the potential of redirecting our economies and ecologies towards non-material, non-destructive paths of "growth", towards economies of wellbeing. A tiny seed becomes the tall tree given time and tending. We may not be there to see it’s flourishing, but we can do the planting.