In the design of our community food system, it is clear that our work must be coordinated with other sectors of civil society even as we do our best to remain light and fun and designed to encourage regular, easy participation. Some may assign this work under the social determinants of health but I think organizers need to be expansive and exciting with words as often as possible. Using terms such as lasting happiness and well-being as goals of our work offers that vision.
This podcast showcases Liz Ziedler, co-founder of Happy City Bristol, an organization geared towards fostering holistic happiness in Bristol, U.K., through measurement tools, workshops, and campaigns.
Lasting happiness should be our real aim for any system change and one that is articulated by a sense of community, purpose in your life, availability to nature and so on. All of these things can be helped with the community food system leading the way. ( I love her idea of “topping off the reservoir” of good times to build the resilience you need for tougher times. Wouldn’t that be a cool way to describe one impact gained from regularly attending farmers markets?)
What works helping people and places to flourish? What supports that kind of mind shift?
Here is how Happy City does their work:
– communication and campaigns: using all kinds of mediums to get people thinking, talking, sharing about well-being;
– training: get skills and habits into lives to know and use resiliency tactics;
– measurement and policy: offering an alternative to using GDP as the measurement for the individual, for communities and organizations and policymakers (Happy City Pulse). Survey of different areas of well-being, using academic and experiential knowledge to measure (loosely):
HC uses the federated territory model (love the term) to help each place using Happy City’s resources maintain their own path and independence.
Their Happy City Index also measures if the right conditions exist to build well-being.
Lots of great ideas as to how to combat industrial system or commodity thinking and language and tools for us to use. The discussion in the interview about the connection of happiness, equity, and sustainability was really great. As was the talk around challenging the status quo on economic measurement through individual patterns which then leads to those engaged persons entering the political arena to work on changes at the municipal level and then to the system level.