Regenerative food systems go beyond food. Indeed, ways that we consume our food have broader implications of resource extraction, movement and disposal. Think on its most basic levels: plastic bags for lettuce mix; coolers for veggie and meat storage; labor hours and commutes for food systems workers; farmland used for other crops such as corn, tobacco, hay; forests for paper and cardboard; and all of the infrastructure that supports these processes.
If we want regenerative food systems to take hold in our communities, there is a foundational shift needed to support equitably accessed healthy food, rich soil, and clean air and water- a metamorphosis if you will. This includes confronting planned and perceived obsolescence, a deeply integrated economic principle that perpetuates materials extraction and waste disposal. Think about it: our land use patterns aren’t just supporting food production; our land supports our whole being!
Food, as a most foundational form of nourishment, is a segue into larger resource cultivation and and movement systems, especially as it pertains to decision making, sovereignty and power dynamics. In order to transition, however, it’s clear that there are structures that need to be dismantled in order to rebuild.
Emily Kawano of Wellspring Cooperative in Springfield MA has been a lead coordinator in the Solidarity Economy movement bubbling up throughout the country. Check out the US Solidarity Economy Network to learn more about its potential in addressing many of the inequities and malfunctions of our current socioeconomic situation. Truly, there is no one answer, rather, a diversity of locally and well-crafted solutions towards a unified goal. Imaginal Cells of the Solidarity Economy helps us to unpack that transformational potential.