Publication Date

2009

Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Kenneth Williams

Abstract

The Community Food Security Project of Post Oil Solutions in Brattleboro, Vermont set out to address whether people in the Brattleboro area have access to healthy, safe, affordable food. All people, regardless of income, deserve access to healthy, affordable, safe foods; food is a human right, and should not be treated as a commodity. The Community Food Security Project of Post Oil Solutions is aiming to make that right a reality in the Southeastern Vermont area. It is a collaborative effort between farmers, non-profits, educators, community leaders, policy makers, and businesses.

For too long we have assumed that our food is healthy and will do us no harm. However, that is not the case. Under the system of global capitalism, food and agriculture are seen as profit-making activities, and are treated as such. Health, nutrition, sustainability, social justice and human rights are not factors in the decisions of corporations to genetically modify seeds, to use potentially harmful ingredients, to abuse the land with chemicals and to exploit human beings so that the final product is profitable. For a community to come together and work towards community food security, a system “in which all community residents obtain a safe, culturally appropriate, nutritionally sound diet through an economically and environmentally sustainable food system that promotes community self-reliance and social justice” (Community Food Security Coalition, n.d.), there needs to be community education, alliance building, and innovative programming. It is not the effort of a solitary organization or group of people. Changing our food system means we must fundamentally alter the way we view and understand our food.

Communities must be the catalysts for creating change in our food system. Therefore, we must ask: How does a community mobilize to create a socially just and sustainable food system? In this paper case I examine our current food system as well as the historical background of development theory that led us to time where progress is synonymous with profit. Several alternative models for reconstructing the food system will also be presented. We will then use the Community Food Security Project and the work it has done in the Brattleboro area as a case study. This case study will examine the mission, goals, approaches, and outcomes of the project, followed by an analysis of challenges and recommendations for strengthening and building the project in its second year.

We need to be intimately connected to the food we put into our bodies. Reconnecting with our food, land, farmers and producers is vital if we are to transform our food system from an unjust, unsustainable web into a healthy set of relationships that nourishes our bodies, our communities and our land.

Disciplines

Environmental Health and Protection | Social Welfare

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