About The Resilience Institute

The Resilience Institute is part of WWU Huxley’s College of the Environment. It facilitates scholarship, education, and practice on reducing social and physical vulnerability through sustainable community development, as a way to minimize loss and enhance recovery from disasters in Washington State and its interdependent global communities.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Everyday Farming is Food Security

So many books, so little time. Having just returned from a visit at UC Santa Cruz and the 8th annual Wise Traditions conference in San Francisco, and lunched with raw milk activist, Michael Schmidt (see the Harper’s story, http://www.harpers.org/archive/2008/04/0081992), I am even more enthused about our Everyday Farming project.

This includes works entitled:

Making Piece with Local.
Building Resilient Food Systems: Culture, Choice Change, Context.
A Food Sabbatical: One year. One summer. One month. One week. One day. One life.

Our Everyday Farming project is similarly titled to work in South Australia (see Gendered Bodies, Gendered Knowledge: Information Technology in Everyday Farming by Lia Bryant, which looks at gendered interactions, understandings, and communications in everyday work practices), but includes study of the production and consumption of all aspects of sustenance – food, clothing, housing, arts. Food, however, figures most prominently in the mix.

A top priority in the research is to look at entry points into everyday farming and the common barriers: land acquisition, start up costs, seed affordability and procurement, knowledge barriers in practices, markets and marketing, sustainable incomes. Some of the work relates to our newest grant at the Institute for Global and Community Resilience, which I’m hoping will take the form of a Food and Farm project: Everyday Farming for Resilient Community Living. One meal at a time.

We’re certainly fortunate to be living in a community and region that has such favorable resources (energy and water issue notwithstanding), know-how, and interest in supporting agriculture and fishing. From Sustainable Connections to the Food Bank Farm, Uprising Organics to Twin Brook Creamery, Boxx Berry Farm to Edaleen Dairy, Ciao Thyme to the Whatcom County-Bellingham City Peak Oil Task Force, growers, farm suppliers, and community members are united on the need to protect farmland. The question is how. Fortunately, Whatcom farm friends weighs in heavily here; advisory boards to various non profits counsel as well. Protecting the land base is a first step in achieving system resiliency in food production (see “urban-rural encroachment” working paper from the IGCR website, forthcoming).

Our new grant, hopefully, will help us tease out/identify factors of resilience that reduce social vulnerability. A goal of the work is to focus on what policies can reduce vulnerabilities and what economic accounting systems can validate the worth of resilient practices and systems. We also are working on case studies, and invite community members to offer stories related to how everyday farming – focused on what and where food is coming from as a part of increased community resilience – should be promoted.

Dedicated to the Tuba

1 comment:

smithsan said...

The specific objectives were to document the critical interaction among these three issues food security, gender inequity, women's health within the context of sub-Saharan Africa to describe the nature of this triad from the perspective of women farmers in Africa.
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