Title

Community Food Security for Vermont: Local Solutions to the Global Food Crisis

Publication Date

1-1-2009

Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Jeff Unsicker

Abstract

Over 10% of Vermonters do not have enough food. The hunger problem in Vermont is not an isolated problem: it is part of a global food crisis, in which close to 1 billion people are food insecure and another billion are obese. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that there were 923 million hungry people throughout the world in 2007, yet enough food is produced in the world to provide over 2,800 calories a day to everyone, which is 18% more calories a day per person than in the 1960s. At the heart of the global food crisis is unequal distribution of food and an agribusiness industry which is reaping record profits as a result of corporate consolidation of the global food supply.

One of the most promising responses to the problems is an effort to integrate the anti-hunger and sustainable agriculture approaches into a broader, systems-based movement for community food security (CFS). The goal is to create a condition 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.

Following guidelines for Policy Advocacy course-linked capstones, this paper presents and analyzes a major product from my own advocacy work: a 44 page policy position paper aimed to inform an explicit CFS movement in Vermont as a local solution to the global food crisis. The paper is part of a larger initiative of Post Oil Solutions, a community organization based in the Brattleboro area. It includes four major recommendations:

• Vermont should develop a Food Policy Council at the state level and conduct a statewide community food assessment. • Community based projects such as community gardens, youth programs, and gleaning projects need to be expanded. • Vermont needs to support and develop the local food system • Federal level lobbying is essential to improve conditions for Vermont's farmers and consumers.

The paper concludes with an evaluation of the paper’s effectiveness as an advocacy tool and general lessons relevant to others doing similar work.

Disciplines

Agricultural and Resource Economics

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