Top article on the Guardian, courtesey of Jon Henley – on how an alternative food model in Greece is linking producers to consumers and helpingregenerate a stalled economy:
A town hall announces a sale. Locals sign up for what they want to buy. The town hall then tell the organisers of the scheme the quantity required and he and his students call local farmers to see who can supply it. They show up with the requisite amount of produce at the appointed place and time, meet their consumers, and the deal is done.
It works “because everyone benefits,” says professor of agricultural marketing at the University of Thessaloniki.
In the grand sweep of human history, accessing food has dominated domestic life – and also politics and economics. Today, supermarket shelves are groaning with a bewildering range of produce from around the world, and we forget that bringing food to the table and having enough to survive to the following harvest has been a preoccupation for generations of our ancestors. The false show of abundant food on either side of the supermarket aisle disguises the fact that the age of cheap imports and plentiful resources is no more.
We cannot carry on as we are. Change is necessary, and inevitable.
Despite being pervasive in all aspects of society – in politics, in economics, in public, private and environmental health– food is now practically invisible. We no longer think about where it comes from – or what it’s doing to our bodies… as Michael Pollan puts it - we don’t look beyond the barcode.
But a shift is taking place. And just as the negative impacts of our homogenised food system on our health, the environment and our local economies are becoming increasingly obvious and unpalatable, at the same time the advantages for us and our communities when we start looking at new ways of sourcing, buying and selling food are becoming more and more apparent. Greece is just one example of this - in our work we’re lucky enough to hear similar stories from people every day.
And it becomes hard to remember what it was like when we weren’t working together.
Greece, we salute you…
Photo credit: Graibeard