Could This Food & Farming Model Work for Everyone?

Posted by on February 10, 2015 in Farming, Food, Drink & Nutrition, Health with 0 Comments

Julian Rose  |

Intro: Julian Rose lays out a pragmatic model for bringing together local and regional food production and consumption. Julian has had more than 30 years experience in this field; selling the great majority of his organic farm produce within a ten mile radius of his farm. This article is drawn from his book “Changing Course for Life – Local Solutions to Global Problems.”

If Cathedrals are meant to stand as symbols of man’s aspiration to a higher spiritual consciousness, then hypermarkets are surely  monuments to society’s lowest level of material greed.  While the farmers and factory workers who toil to provide the products that line their plastic shelves receive the absolute minimum economic reward for their labour, the hypermarkets boast huge profits and evermore grandiose expansion plans. So distorted is the scale and motivation of this form of trading – and so destructive to both human and environmental welfare – that any caring individual should find it abhorrent to carry on worshipping at this golden calf.

In a world where everything is subordinate to the Free Market, the superstores are indeed the gods.  Their emissaries specifically include the World Trade Organisation, the World Bank, The International Monetary Fund, the United States Food and Drug Administration and virtually all Western governments, as well as the dominant agrichemical, genetically modified seed and food conglomerates.  It is a club that knows no end in its ambitions to dominate and control global resources and international trade. A club that stands squarely behind the clinical cloning of farm animals and the genetic engineering, patenting and declared ‘ownership’ of our common genetic resource base.

In order to reinforce the revival of appropriate scale, local rural economies that are the antithesis of this apocalyptically reductionist approach, we must stick to some important basic principles.  These I have described in other publications under the heading the “Proximity Principle”, a phrase coined to emphasise the need to create a reciprocal supply and demand chain within the immediate circumference of population centres. A system that ensures that full utilisation is made of the local resource base, before turning to areas further afield for the community’s basic needs.

There are number of simple steps to be put in place to achieve this:

Firstly: the town or village committee must do some simple calculations concerning approximately how much food, energy and building materials (fibre) are required to maintain the sensible needs of their community.

Secondly: Farmers and local foresters must be approached in order to establish how much of this need can be supplied.  Initially a round table discussion between all parties concerned can set the process in motion.

Thirdly: A contractual agreement should be established between the local farmers and local citizens (consumers).  Preferably led by the local citizens, who will be able to tell the farmers approximately what volume of specific products they would like to have grown for them on an annual basis.

Fourthly: the economic return to the farmer must be fair, with no attempt made to exploit his or her labour or to use the threat of going elsewhere to buy cheaper food or commodities.  In return the farmer must guarantee to use ecologically benign systems of agriculture, and to strive to produce good quality nutritious and flavourful foods that can be enjoyed by all.  The same applies to foresters, who must adopt sustainable, environmentally sound practices of timber management.  Both will need to save their seeds and swap them locally to perpetuate native diversity.

Fifthly: The means of transportation, display and sale of these goods must reflect the minimum use of non-renewable polluting fossil fuels and non-degradable packaging.  This is fundamental and reflects the pride of place essential to any homogeneous community, as well as to broader environmental care.

Sixth: The consumers and producers must not act like entrenched camps. There should be a sharing and mutual understanding of needs in recognition of the fact that good community care is a common responsibility and a rewarding process, in which everyone plays an important part.

Seventh: Cultural, spiritual and artistic expressions should be encouraged to flourish; particularly those that give expression and impetus to the evolving way of life of the community.  Young and old alike should be involved and recognise the values of their respective talents and wisdom.  Rural communities all have the potential to be dynamic and colourful centres of life.  Our world is composed of millions of such communities – even big cities are a composite of hundreds of interconnected communities or boroughs.

This is the way we should consciously see and design the world in which we live, because the scale, lay-out and visual beauty of our landscapes, villages, towns and working places must find harmony and resonate with our own sense of inner peace and security.  The laws of man and the laws of nature must find themselves ever more closely intertwined, harmonised and mutually enhanced…

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