Food: Production, Diet, & Trade

Most of our food systems are dominated by international markets. If we do not address the fundamental structural flaw of treating food only as a commodity rather than seeing multiple dimensions of food, we miss a huge opportunity to build resiliency that requires us to approach food as a commons. We want to emphasise that food is not just agriculture! It is land food, and fisheries, and forest-food when we are doing it right.

The food market is complex and difficult to change as it is a strongly embedded system with many transnational ties. While the individual can change behaviour to establish their own ecological relationship to food and community, the real onus is on governments to help create systemic change in the way food is produced, traded, and distributed to people.

Go back to our full list of topics.

How can you make a difference?

  • Ask your neighbors if they need help getting or paying for groceries.
  • Support local food producers as often as possible. Shop at local farmer’s markets and small chain grocery stores…. less or more thoughtful meat consumption, local diets
  • Grow your own food in your garden or on your balcony
  • Create a local farmer union (thinking back to the power of farm worker organizing in the 60s)
  • Buy/Join a CSA
  • Participate in democratizing food systems — start a buying club or join one on Open Food Network

Policy Suggestions

Local and MunicipalFederal & Provincial/State
Basic income and unions for local farmersBan CAFOs (link does not include uncomfortable imagery)
Make space for regional farmers’ markets; include activities for families and local producers to make this an enticing and interesting place for families to frequentChange laws that ‘exceptionalize’ farm workers, for example farm workers don’t qualify for overtime pay after 40 hours the way other hourly workers do
Provide entrepreneurial start-up funding and incubation hubs for technology, social services, food services, and physical goods. Make affordable space for start-ups, creative hubs for artists, and sponsor locally relevant events to showcase this workScale taxation system so local food sellers and producers pay very little tax while national and mulit-national chains pay much more (such as McDonalds)
Eliminate barriers for local food production and selling – allow community members to make their own foods and beverages to trade with othersRemove state control on alcohol and marajuana consumption, production, and sale to create a strong market of local small-scale brewers and growers
Support appellation control to link products to landscapesChanging zoning and permitting policies to enable small-scale agriculture and food production
Incentivize growing food in people’s lawns. Work on rezoning policies where needed.Treat farmers and food providers like Health Care providers and ensure a basic food box for all

Allies, Related Resources, and E4A Publications

Change in Action

While not all of these projects direction involve E4A, they are great examples of diverse examples of socio-ecological change in action.

To suggest a change, edit, or update please contact us! You are also welcome to explore and comment on our collaborative Google Document where we share ideas and resources.