I read Next City faithfully, because like many food system activists, I am also a student of any kind of civic engagement strategy, including urban design. So I was pleased to see this short piece about how urbanists should pay attention to the lessons of food organizing. As those who regularly read my blog know, I am always searching for lessons and templates in other sectors that we can apply to our work and that the thoughtful and inclusive work that we do is noted by other sectors in return is appreciated.
Of course, I’d prefer to not be called foodies which sounds a lot like the term “women’s libbers” that second-wave feminists were tagged with back in the 1970s. These terms can isolate the work being done by suggesting that it is restricted to a small group of people who have adopted a lifestyle, rather than according the respect due by being broad social movements.
Still, I like the piece very much and would recommend that markets link to it on their FB pages and to share with their municipal partners.
I marvel at the success of the food movement partly because it required so many changes in different parts of the food system. Farmers have had to grow their crops differently; stores and distributors have had to start offering different food for sale; new recipes had to be discovered or invented; and ultimately millions of individuals have changed the way they eat.
I also think it’s interesting that many of the key actors and institutions were entrepreneurs and small businesses. It wasn’t just activists, it was the people writing cookbooks, it was restaurants and grocery stores, farmers and manufacturers all contributing to a lasting transformation.
The sustainable food movement has changed how we eat. Will the urbanist movement change how we live?