Riding the full force GMO backlash of 2014, communities and individuals alike are breaking down the door with Black-Friday urgency in search of better access to better food. Yet in a country where we continue to be limited by the bottom line of big corporate influences and their overarching monetary reach, the first sprouts of a mighty paradigm shift have been peeking through the dirt waiting for everyone to notice. What I’m talking about is the decentralization of food back to communities and individuals.
Children ≥ Adults
In recent interviews Dr. Richard Alan Miller, herbalist and longtime fixture in alternative agriculture, has described what he sees as proof of a shift in consciousness that is occurring in his recent work on the outskirts of Mexico City, as well as in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Groups of children, varying in age, are learning to grow vegetables and salad greens on their own terms. Taking a page from Rudolf Steiner’s Waldorf educational philosophy, the children become both the teachers and the students.
They learn at their own pace while Dr. Miller and others remain to oversee and provide only minimal, gentle guidance. According to Dr. Miller, while observing the youth interacting with nature he noticed that many of them “had inherent, natural skill that was better than most master gardeners.” The food grown by the children was then used in nearby cities to feed hungry adults. “We are witnessing an educational shift with a new paradigm shift in agricultural reform in which small groups of children grow food for larger groups of adults,” said Dr. Miller.
Local Open Source Food = Empowered Community
The answer to many of society’s problems can be found by walking in the opposite direction of the current push for further centralization being sold in many aspects of our life. Indeed, it is because of the centralization of the food system that we are now vulnerable to supply chain disruptions that can come from a variety of sources, instantly crippling unprepared communities. In addition, a centralized food supply allows large corporations to monopolize the food sources while diminishing both our rights and the quality of our food. However, alternatives to this model have begun appearing, such as the seven acre Beacon Hill site in Seattle, which made headlines in 2009 with plans for the first free open Food Forest within city limits. Simultaneously, the common sense concept gained momentum through many cities across America.