Though it sometimes seems like our evil frankenfood corporate overlords, such as Monsanto and Dow, have completely hi-jacked our food system, many people around the nation are actually creating more sustainable and viable alternatives. A few good folks in Asheville, NC are bringing agriculture back to the people, empowering urbanites to gain more food independence, while learning to grow healthier fresh local food for their own communities.
Asheville has recently been in the news for the adoption of its progressive regional Food Action Plan, which addresses food insecurity/security and access issues. It is no surprise that our town is making food security headlines again, this time with the story of two of Asheville’s local residents and inspiring sustainable food leaders, Tema Ayanfe Jamison and Olufemi Lewis.
North Carolina’s city of Asheville is the most recent town in our nation to create a Food Action Plan. These sensible strategies address difficult issues, such as food deserts, community health, food insecurity, nutrition knowledge deficits, barriers to local food production and distribution, as well as food sovereignty. The plan was approved 6-0 on January 21, 2013 by the city council; this legislation will play an active role in improving healthy food access, and will also help to build a more sustainable local food infrastructure.
Last year at the Slow Money Gathering in San Francisco, I was really impressed with a presentation that I heard from one of the founders of Stockbox Neighborhood Grocery in Washington. Her idea was simple and innovative — retrofit shipping containers to sell healthy food and produce in underserved neighborhoods. The easily portable container could be placed in industrial areas and regions where food deserts now prevail, instantly providing better access to fresh groceries.
This year’s free conference is spearheaded by the Brooklyn Food Coalition. This grassroots organization tackles issues concerning food and sustainability to work toward their vision of a more just and sustainable local food system. Now they’re taking over Brooklyn Technical High School, getting ready for a second round of transforming minds and food policy in the region.