Saturday, 9 February 2013

Food Fight

Something's been building up inside me as the scandal around adulterated Tesco burgers, contaminated Findus Lasagne and the fact that the multinational food industry has been feeding us horsemeat in the guise of beef, at least since August on a fairly massive scale.
Behind the scenes, but across the country, in community after community, things have been happening that I'm only just realising were the beginnings of a groping toward an unconscious defence against just such eventuality.

Because for the last year or so, in response to growing need and hardship, communities have been setting up food banks, to make sure their hardest pressed members got fed. Volunteers have been collecting from neighbours, and recycling food that might otherwise have been dumped.

This has been coupled with ideas like 'slow food' and 'grow it local', where land owned by the council the NHS, or just standing idle has been reclaimed by the community for 'Community Food Growing Initiatives'.
Would you like to know how many times you've been eating this?

What these developments suggest to me that we're intrinsically sensing, is that food has just got out of our control. Whether it's pink chicken mush, burgers and buns that simply never look mouldy, factory farmed, antibiotic stuffed stressed animals, we really don't like to even think about it, but for many it's all that's available to us.

We're thinking that if communities win back control over the food we eat, we can eat something that we actually know where it came from, how fresh it is, what chemicals it contains.

And communities need to win back control over other parts of the 21st Century that are going wrong too. All those people who may exist in the same geographical space, but are trapped without any contact with the community around them, little hermetically sealed units where they may or may not get the occasional visit from a health or social care agency, but where for years the person's actual neighbours have not felt confident to tread. We need to break down those invisible walls that are dividing our communities.

Clydesdale Community Food Market

In all our communities, we need to win back control over our food, our health, our care for ourselves and each other.

Cormac Russell recently spoke to the people at 'Occupy Wall St'. He said to them: "When you've finished occupying here, I hope you go back and occupy your own communities. That's where the hearts are being ripped out of you, that's where the process begins that ends in Wall St. The movement for change can only start on your own doorsteps"

While our superstores are feeding us horsemeat, our communities are building alternatives. Today we're struggling to win back control over the very stuff of life - our food, our relationships, our lives. We're choosing to do it in community.

I got the images for this post from:


1 comment:

  1. Local food justice initiatives have been fertile ground for contributing roles for people with learning difficulties and autism. Learn about one effort at