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Food as a lens on society

3 May 2017 5:58 PM | Anne Thomson (Administrator)

There are many problems in modern everyday life. 

All of us are feeling more pressured and lack time. Obesity. Too much of wrong kind of food. Lack of care for the elderly. Mental health. Hopelessness. Poverty wages. Managing on less....STOP. STOP. Too distressing!

Seems to me that technology has allowed corporates to move into every aspect of life and made some material aspects "easier" but actually failed us on the more important aspects of being human with all that means. That is where we need to not accept tech without ensuring the new systems allow for humans to be humans. Such as Where we live, how we spend our time and interact with each other, how we look after each other, consideration of what makes a worthwhile life and who pays the bill.

In the past we have externalised the costs, that means put them out of sight. But there is no doubt others/environment/society have paid the price. With some of the impending disasters at hand of climate crisis and equality gap, the them and us of society will lead to further stress if they are not reversed.

Of course as society has become less locally focused and more complex, it has been impossible to see the chaos from wherever you sit. So it is with food. A supermarket presents a troublesome vision of food & reflects so many of society problems. From poverty wages, to waste, to food hidden in boxes, to fake labelling, to anonymous sellers and anonymous shareholders. Food is no longer central to our lives and it needs to be.

Food is a multi-dimensional system which interacts with all aspects of life. Indeed it has the potential to make a positive impact on most of the key problems I started by describing. That is why we must look for new ways to mend our local food system and re-focus locally . Because if we did, some of the other problems would lessen. 

A richer array of foods grown & produced locally has the potential to engage old and young, to lessen isolation, to nourish our physical and mental bodies, to provide society by transacting and interacting, to provide more of the right type of food (less processed and adulterated), to provide reasons for communities to live like communities which would be good for young folk and elder care, to provide a reasonable living from cash and subsistence crops, to provide a rationale for keeping jobs local, to provide a need for housing and transportation in rural and more remote areas. 

Food is the lens on society that will guide our progress. Get the food right and a lot else will improve too.

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